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5-min read

Asian Games: Indians Who Promised But Failed To Deliver

While the Indian contingent ended their 2018 Asiad Campaign with its highest ever medal tally at the games, there could have been even more medals had the usual suspects performed to their potential.

Suyash Upadhyaya |

Updated:September 2, 2018, 3:09 PM IST
Asian Games: Indians Who Promised But Failed To Deliver
Image: AP

While the Indian contingent ended their 2018 Asiad Campaign with its highest ever medal tally at the games, there could have been even more medals had the usual suspects performed to their potential.

India bagged medals in unexpected disciplines like sailing and kurash, but missed out where expectations were big in men's badminton and recurve archery. We take a look at some of the disappointments at this year's Asian Games.

Men's and Women's Kabaddi Teams

Twitter/ Rajyavardhan Rathore Twitter/ Rajyavardhan Rathore

After never having lost a single match at the Asian Games in history, the Indian men's kabaddi team lost two in this edition. The group stage loss to South Korea should have been an eye-opener, but it wasn't to be. The team went down to Iran in the semi-final, and comprehensively with a scoreline of 18-27. Iran was helped by the fact that many of the players in the national team are mainstays in pro kabaddi teams, owing to which they know the game of some of the Indian player inside out. The Indian team also did themselves no favours and seemed sluggish on the mat.

There was a similar story in women's kabaddi, where the team went down to Iran 24-27 in the final - where the stakes were even higher. The Iranian victory was masterminded by their Indian head coach Shailaja Jain, meaning that even the women's team could not bag the gold medal. With the men's team winning bronze and the women's team winning silver, the twin defeats to Iran will serve as a wake up call for the Indian kabaddi fraternity.

Men's and Women's Hockey Teams

Image: AP Image: AP

After having scored 76 goals and conceded only three in the group stages, saying that the men's hockey team should have won their semi-final tie against Malaysia would be a mild understatement. But India took on a highly motivated Malaysian team which pushed them till the very end. Equalizing through a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the match, the Malaysians held their nerve and won the match 6-7 on penalties. India's dream of automatic Olympic qualification ended. Nothing less than gold was expected from the team, and even though it clinched the bronze medal by defeating Pakistan 2-1 in the playoff, there will definitely be an inquisition into why the team could not step up when it mattered the most.

A gold for the women's hockey team would definitely have been a sweetener after the disappointment from the men's team. They too were dominant in the group stages, scoring 38 goals and conceding just one. A well-fought 1-0 victory over China in the semi-final pitted the team against Japan in the final, but the Japanese rode on their luck, converted two penalty corners and absorbed the pressure that the Indians put on them. 2-1 was the result in the end and the team ended with a silver medal. The only consolation? That the team improved on their performance of four years ago at Incheon 2014 where it won the bronze medal.

Men's and Women's Recurve Archery Teams

Deepika Kumari aims for the target during an individual ranking round.   (Photo Credit: Getty Images) Deepika Kumari aims for the target during an individual ranking round. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Once a goldmine of medals for India, the Indian men's and women's recurve archery teams drew a blank at the Asian Games, returning with no medals. Both the teams did not make it past the quarter-final stage, the men's team being knocked out by Korea 5-1 and the women's team losing 6-2 to Chinese Taipei.

The barren run is certainly worrying for Indian recurve archery, with the teams going medal-less at Rio 2016 as well. Speaking after the disappointing performance, Deepika Kumari said, "We gave our best every time we shot, what reason can I give for not getting a medal?" Atanu Das also said, "I don't know why this happens. Maybe we need to work harder. We may not see a medal here, but we are improving."

Men's Badminton

HS Prannoy. (Getty Images) HS Prannoy. (Getty Images)

The likes of 6th seed Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy were not at their usual best at the Asian Games, with early exits for both in the men's singles badminton competition. In fact, both were knocked out in the round-of-32, Vincent Wong of Hong Kong defeating Srikanth and Prannoy losing to Wangcharoen Kantaphon of Thailand. India's challenge in the men's doubles event too ended at the same stage, with the pairs of SS Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy failing to get past their respective Korean and Chinese opponents.

And finally in the men's team event, India went down 3-1 to hosts Indonesia, and India's male shuttlers returned medal-less. It wasn't all doom and gloom though, as PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal came back with the silver and bronze medals, and Indian badminton had something to cheer about in the end.

Manu Bhaker - Shooting


Sixteen year old Manu Bhaker undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of her, but this Asian Games campaign just wasn't meant to be. After winning two gold medals at the ISSF shooting world cup in Mexico and gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, the same was expected of her at the Asian Games.

Participating in the 25 air pistol event as well, Bhaker shot brilliantly in the qualification to enter the final with a games record score. She qualified comfortably for the 10m air pistol final as well, but it seemed like the pressure got to her in the finals of both events, finishing a disappointing sixth and fifth respectively.

Even more surprising was the fact that the duo of Bhaker and Abhishek Verma could not qualify for the final of the mixed team event in the 10m air pistol. Bhaker said that she was "sorry" for not being able to bring any medals for the country from the games, and that she will "try again". The hope is that the experience of failure at the Asian Games will only make her more adept at handling pressure in the future - something that will only increase if she continues her upward trajectory as a shooter.

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| Edited by: Suyash Upadhyaya
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