The 18th edition of the Asian Games is scheduled to take place from August 18 to September 2 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. Around 10,000 athletes from 45 countries will participate in 40 sports throughout the tournament.
India has sent an 800-plus contingent, including 572 athletes, who will compete in 36 sports in the 18th edition of the tournament.
The first edition of the Asian Games was held in New Delhi in 1951. This will be the second time that Indonesia will host the Asian Games after the Jakarta Asian Games in 1962. Also, this is the first time that the games are being hosted by two cities together.
India is one of the only seven countries that have competed in all the editions of the Asian Games. The other six are Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand. India have won at least one gold medal at every Asian Games and always ranked within the top 10 nations of the medal table except in the 1990 Asian Games.
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Before the send-off ceremony, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also expressed hope that India would win more medals than the previous edition. However, he asked the participating athletes not to think too much about the results and focus on giving their best.
“You have been preparing for years now and must be having dreams (to win medals). Now you are approaching nearer to your event. I would advise you to remain confident that those thousands of hours of your training and hard work will help you. Please don’t worry about the results too much and you should remain confident of your abilities. The results will come running after you,” he said at the send-off ceremony of the Indian contingent organised by the Indian Olympic Association in New Delhi last Friday.
Here’s a look at India’s performance in the previous editions of the editions:
Asian Games 2014
The 2014 Asian Games were held in Incheon, South Korea between September 19 to October 4. India won 57 medals in total, which included 11 Gold, 9 Silver, and 37 Bronze medals and finished 8th in the medals tally. The highlight of India’s performance at the 2014 Asiad was that after 16 years, India won the gold medal in Asian Games men’s hockey tournament, and consequently earned a direct berth to the 2016 Summer Olympics hockey tournament.
Asian Games 2010
The 2010 Asian Games were held in Guangzhou, China between November 12–27. India won 65 medals in total, which included 14 Gold, 17 Silver, and 34 Bronze medals and finished 6th in the medals tally. It was India’s best ever performance at Asian Games. These games also witnessed first ever medals in Gymnastics and Roller Sports.
Asian Games 2006
The 2006 Asian Games were held in Doha, Qatar. India won 53 medals in total, which included 10 Gold, 17 Silver and 26 Bronze medals and finished 8th in the medals tally. Leander Paes and Sania Mirza won a gold medal for the Mixed doubles in Tennis. Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi also won a gold medal in Men’s doubles.
Asian Games 2002
The 2002 Asian Games were held in Busan, South Korea. India won 36 medals in total, which included 11 Gold, 12 Silver, and 13 Bronze medals and finished 7th in the medals tally. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won a gold medal for the Men’s doubles in Tennis. Sunita Rani’s gold and bronze medals, which she won in the women’s 1,500 m and 5,000 m, were reinstated after she appealed in the dope scam.
Asian Games 1998
The 1998 Asian Games were held in Bangkok, Thailand. India won 35 medals in total, which included 7 Gold, 11 Silver and 17 Bronze and finished 9th in the medals tally. Jyotirmoy Sikdhar had won two gold medals (Athletics 1500m and 800m). The Indian Men’s hockey team also won a gold medal.