India’s modest Olympic accomplishments have long stood in contrast to its enormous population, but sporting officials claim that the sleeping giant has stirred at the Asian Games. HANGZHOU, China, October 5 ( Reuters )
India placed eighth on the medal table at the continental showpiece in Jakarta five years ago, taking home their best total of 70 medals, including 16 golds.
With four days of competition left, Team India in Hangzhou soared past 80 medals, earning praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and glowing press in the national media.
India finished fourth on the medal table on Thursday, trailing the dependable top three of China, Japan, and South Korea, after being topped in Jakarta by nations like Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Indonesia.
The Asian Games, which have 45 nations, have much weaker competition than the Olympics and a large number of medals in sports that have little chance of being included in the Olympic program.
At the Tokyo Olympics, India won seven medals, one of which was a gold medal; its record only placed them 48th overall.
A POSITIVE TRAJECTORY
However, the trend is encouraging, and Hangzhou’s results demonstrate that recent years’ increased funding and more focused sports investment have paid off, according to India team officials.
According to P. T. Usha, president of the Indian Olympic Association( IOA ), the government is providing incentives, coaching, and( using ) foreign coaches because our prime minister wants India to become a sporting power.
” The government is carrying it out methodically.”
Three or four years ago, that system began. But right now, it’s good. We have now begun receiving the results.
With 29 medals, nine more than Jakarta, Indian athletics has made progress in Hangzhou.
Athletes have surprised people in a number of competitions, including Kishore Jena, who finished second behind teammate Neeraj Chopra, the nation’s first track and field and Olympic champion.
Following an impressive world championship in Budapest, where they broke an Asian record by finishing fifth in the final, the men’s 4x400m relay team cruised to victory on Wednesday.
The Indian government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme, which provides funding to athletes, was drafted by sports lawyer Nandan Kamath, who said,” These are healthy signs of an emerging Asian sports power.”
In sports like shooting and athletics, there has been growth and consolidation, as well as the emergence of winners and challengers in new fields.
In Hangzhou, where the hosts are closing in on their record haul of 199 gold medals from Guangzhou in 2010, India still has a long way to go before it can catch up to China.
According to Bhupender Singh Bajwa, the chef de mission for India,” We will definitely pursue China in the near future.”
The team, he continued, intended to win twice as many medals at the Tokyo Olympics when they competed in Paris the following year.
While athletes have recently helped India achieve new things, the country’s sports governance has produced less encouraging outcomes.
If the International Olympic Committee ( IOC) couldn’t resolve governance and election issues, it threatened to withdraw the IOA from the Olympic Games just over a year ago.
Nevertheless, Thomas Bach, the head of the IOC, has argued that India should host the 2036 Olympics.
Sports minister Anurag Thakur stated that India is considering a formal bidding process but has not yet done so with the IOC.
A potential 2036 bid may become a hot topic in light of India’s success in Hangzhou, where the next IOC session will take place starting on October 15 in Mumbai.
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