India’s best-ever Asian Games medal haul at Jakarta has brought much cheer. India’s final tally at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia read 69 medals – 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze, best since the first Asiad in 1951. It may have lagged at eighth place on the medals table, way behind China with its 289 medals — but compared to recent Asiads, India registered significant progress in many events, with heroic performances among both women and men. There were surprise winners in a few disciplines while in some, the athletes ended the decades-long drought.
The games saw India create new national records, register some firsts – the first medal in sepaktakraw. The Games got underway with Neeraj Chopra, the Javelin thrower Chopra as the flag bearer at the opening ceremony and whose gold-winning 88.06m makes him among the world’s best, particularly shone.
Some of the games that highlight India’s performance in the games are as follows-
• BOXING : Boxer Amit Panghal shocked Uzbekistan’s Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov with a split verdict in the men’s 49 kg category. Amit Panghal received a gold medal, achieved India’s milestone for best-ever medal count at Asian Games. His 3-2 win on a split decision over reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov was a joy to watch for the sheer dominance on display.
• HEPTATHLON : As did Swapna Barman, who kept ahead of the pack to win gold in heptathlon even as she coped with a painful tooth infection and shoes far from ideal for her six-toed feet.
• BADMINTON : P.V. Sindhu claimed the country’s maiden Asiad silver in badminton and Saina Nehwal got a bronze. The Indian team comprising of Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Malik, and Jitender Singh, apart from Mirza, also claimed the Silver with a score of 121.30 in the team event.
• SHOOTING : India delivered yet another strong performance in Shooting at the Asian Games 2018 with a total of 10 medals to the tally. Rahi Sarnobat became first Indian woman to win Asian Games gold in shooting
• ATHLETICS : Athletics has been the biggest contributor to medals tally for India across the Asian Games. Track and field events have contributed to 233 medals for India at Asian Games and in Indonesia. Shooting and wrestling seized two gold medals each while table tennis broke its Asian Games drought with two bronze medals. Vinesh Phogat became first Indian woman to win gold in wrestling making that tally moved to 240 with 7 golds, 10 silvers, and 2 bronze medals. Jinsons Johnson winning gold was first 1500m medal in 20 years, Manjit Singh’s 800m gold was after 32 years and Arpinder Singh’s triple jump gold came after 48 years. Archery remains a mixed-bag for India, despite the two silver medals. India Women’s Team won the Silver in Compound Archery. India Women’s Compound team, comprising Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Muskan Kirar, and Madhumita Kumari
• TABLE TENNIS : India secured two medals in Table Tennis in Asian Games 2018 with Kamal, Sathiyan along with Manav Vikash, Anthony Arputharaj and Harmeet Desai winning the bronze in Men’s Team event and Kamal combining with Batra to win the bronze in mixed doubles. The double podium finishes in Table Tennis is regarded as one of the biggest highlights of India in the multi-sport competition.
In singles’ competition, the CWG gold medallist Manika Batra went down against world number five Wang Manyu 2-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 4-11 in the round of 16. The 23-year old managed to win a game, proving her mettle and her ability to make unexpected comebacks. The squad, comprising the likes of Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, and Manika Batra did not disappoint.
• EQUESTRIAN : India’s dominance in the men’s doubles event continued with Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan.India delivered a strong performance in the highly unrecognized sport of Equestrian. Fouaad Mirza ended India’s 36 years of wait to win an individual medal in the equestrian event since 1982. He won the silver medal in individual jumping with a score of 26.40, just four seconds behind Japan’s Oiwa Yoshiaki.
• MARTIAL ARTS : In mixed martial arts events and disciplines of Kurash and Wushu, India picked up six medals with one silver and bronze coming in Kurash while four bronze medals arrived in wushu. Pincky Balhadra and Malaprabha Jadhav won silver and bronze respectively in Kurash women’s 52kg event. In Wushu, Roshibina Naorem won bronze in women’s Sanda 60kg; men’s trio of Santhosh Kumar, Surya Bhanu Pratap Singh, Narender Grewal won in men’s Sanda 56kg, 60kg and 65kg categories respectively.
There were a number of big surprises for India in the sport at the Games with teenagers Saurabh Chaudhary and Shardul Vihan making big strides. While the 16-year old Chaudhary won the gold medal in 10m Air Pistol, the 15-year old Vihan struck a silver medal in Men’s Double Trap. Rahi Sarnobat secured the second gold medal for India in Women 25m pistol event. While Veteran shooter Sanjeev Rajput continued his form from the Commonwealth Games and managed to win a silver in 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men, while another CWG gold medalist Heena Sidhu secured 10m Air Pistol in Women. The team of Ravi Kumar and Apurvi Chandela won the bronze in 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event, and the youngster Abhishek Verma won the bronze in 10m Air Pistol men. Lakshay brought a surprising silver for India in Men Trap while Deepak Kumar added a silver in 10m Air Rifle. Ravi Kumar/Apurvi Chandela winning the first medal, India men’s hockey team the last and culminates on September 2 with Rani Rampal as the flag bearer at the closing ceremony.