The much-awaited Asian Games will officially get underway in Hangzhou, China, on September 23. As India expects to better its medal tally of 70 at the 2018 Jakarta Asiad and return with the most medals ever, here are some of India's brightest medal prospects.
Neeraj Chopra (Javelin Throw):
The defending Asian Games champion arrives at Hangzhou after a good show at the Diamond League where he finished second. The javelin thrower recorded 88.06m to take the gold at Indonesia's Jakarta four years ago. The Olympic champion is India's sure bet to bring a gold medal home from the track and field events.
The cricket teams:
While a full-strength women's team will take the field, the BCCI has sent a bunch of IPL-powered Young Turks to seize glory on Chinese soil. However, India is confident of Ruturaj Gaikwad and co. winning gold, alongside their women counterparts led by Smriti Mandhana. The 'Women In Blue' will be further strengthened when Harmanpreet Kaur returns after suspension.
Satwik and Chirag Shetty (Badminton - Men’s doubles):
Seeded No. 3 in the world, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are ensured of a podium finish if they can keep their recent form. The reigning Commonwealth Games champions, who also won a World Championship bronze, arrive in China with recent wins at the Indonesia Open and Asian Championships.
Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting):
Competing in the 49kg category, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist is expected to make the Indian national anthem play at Hangzhou. The Manipuri lifter has won multiple Commonwealth Games medals apart from her World Championship glory in 2017.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shotput):
The 28-year-old from Punjab won gold in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta with a throw of 20.75m. Since then, he has improved his performance and currently holds the Asian record with his 21.77m throw while winning gold at the National Inter-State Championships in June in Bhubaneswar.
R. Praggnanandhaa (Chess):
India's prodigy, who valiantly fought against Magnus Carlsen at the World Chess Championship recently, will lead the country's charge in the game of 64 squares. Interestingly, the board game is making a return to the Asian Games after 13 years.
Parul Chaudhary (3000m Steeplechase):
She registered the best finish in the event ever by an Indian woman - 9:15.31 while qualifying for the final of the World Championships earlier this year. Bahrain's defending champion Winfred Yavi will be the biggest challenge in Parul Chaudhary's hunt for the gold. However, it will not be too much to expect a podium finish from the star athlete.
Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase):
The Maharashtra star is well known for putting an end to African domination at this event at the Commonwealth Games. Sable reportedly gave the Diamond League final a skip to prepare better for the Asiads.