The fiercely competitive Asian Games 2023 are set to take centre stage in Hangzhou, China, later this month. The quadrennial event and Asia’s largest multi-sporting extravaganza gathers athletes from across the continent to compete, and among them, India is gearing up for the event with a strong contingent of 655 athletes participating in 40 sporting disciplines. Let’s take a look at some of the standout performers that could bring back gold for Team India.
Neeraj Chopra Leads the Charge
As far as athletics is concerned, India’s hopes will be anchored by none other than the Olympic Champion Neeraj Chopra. The gold medalist, who recently clinched the world championship title in men’s javelin throw, will be out to defend the Asian Games crown he secured five years ago in Indonesia. Chopra is the first Indian to win a gold medal at the World Athletics Championship, as well as the first to earn an individual Olympic gold for India in Tokyo back in 2020.
But he will not be the only exceptional talent on display from Team India. Joining Chopra are other top-quality athletes like Avinash Sable in the steeplechase, shot put record holder Tajinderpal Singh Toor, and the formidable hurdler Jyothi Yarraji. The jumps contingent is another strong area for the team with Murali Sreeshankar, Jeswin Aldrin, Shaili Singh, Praveen Chithravel, and Abdulla Aboobacker. We will also see Swapna Barman and Jinson Johnson in the heptathlon and men’s 1500m, respectively, trying to defend their Asian Games titles and continue their winning streaks.
The Asian Games 2023 will officially commence after the opening ceremony on September 23, 2023, in Hangzhou, China. However, a select few team sporting events, including football, cricket, beach volleyball, and volleyball, will kick off on September 19, 2023. Throughout the prestigious competition, SportyTrader will be covering all the events live, offering real-time updates and live odds from Parimatch for each event. You can also take advantage of a coupon code valid for 2023, available on SportyTrader, that you can use on any sporting event from the Asian Games covered by Parimatch.
A unique aspect of India’s participation in the Asian Games 2023 is the backing of women athletes who have embraced motherhood. Dipika Pallikal, the 2014 women’s doubles gold medalist, was blessed with twins in October 2021 and is set to compete in mixed doubles with Harinder Pal Sandhu. Koneru Humpy, who became a Grandmaster at just 15 years old, gave birth to her daughter Ahana in 2017. She returned to become the women’s World Rapid champion in 2019 and will look to defend her crown again this year. Harika Dronavalli is a three-time World Championship medallist who participated in a high-pressure Chess Olympiad during her ninth month of pregnancy and secured the women’s team bronze, which was a historic achievement for India. Manpreet Kaur took a break following marriage and childbirth but made a remarkable comeback in 2022 to become the first Indian woman to cross the 18-meter mark in shot put.
And finally, we cannot speak about India’s chances of earning a gold medal without mentioning the Indian cricket team. However, with the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup starting next month, key players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will not be heading to the Asian Games, though it will give young talents an opportunity to shine on a huge stage. Bengal seamer Akash Deep has been added to the men’s squad as a replacement for the injured Shivam Mavi, and Ruturaj Gaikwad will captain the Indian men’s cricket team in a T20 format competition taking place from September 28 to October 8.