Unlike the previous edition of Asian Games in Incheon, India has clinched more gold medals this time and, above all, grabbed more than half the gold in athletics. This was the country’s second best performance after the first Asian Games that New Delhi had hosted in 1951. This time, India got 17 medals including seven gold as compared to 10-12-12 in 1951 when the competition was quite low.

The centre of attraction was India’s world-class performance, especially in the track and field events. Neeraj Chopra created history to become the first Indian gold medalist in javelin event with a display of 88.06m performance. It’s far better than that of the bronze medalist of Rio Olympics and very close to the silver medalist. With this performance, he has raised India’s hopes for the Tokyo Olympics.

Nowadays, three athletes in the international circuit are performing around 90m. His continuous training with the German coach in Finland can prove to be very useful for him. Similarly, the performance of Tejinder Pal Singh Toor in shot put event (20.75m) was better than the fifth place in the Rio Olympics. Manjit Singh made his name in 800-metre with his personal best performance (1:46.15). This performance is better than the gold medal winner of the Incheon Asian Games four years ago.

The two of the seven gold medals were won by India at a comparatively low level of competition amongst which men’s 1500 meter and triple jumps were such events. The level of these events was the weakest in the last 16 years in Asian Games. With this performance, Jinson Johnson and Arpinder Singh could not be able to get even a bronze medal between 2002 and 2014.

Athletics federation can boast about the fact that Jinson performed better than the Rio Olympics gold medal at the 1500 meter event, but it is also true that the final of this event in Rio was one of the weakest performances of the century. Even so, nearly all the athletes’ final performances were somewhat lighter than the performance of their heats and semi-final events.

Similarly, in the absence of tough competition, especially in 100- and 200-metre of Women’s events, Dutee Chand achieved silver in both the events despite the fact that the top seven athletes at Rio, achieved timings within 11 seconds in 100-metre. This way, the timing of Dutee’s 10.32 will not be up to the mark at the world or Olympics level.

Her timings in 200-metre were also below par from the top eight players at Rio. In these two events, the standard of gold medalist at Jakarta is below than our national records, as Dutee’s performance in these events does not matter. The women’s relay team managed to score sixth consecutive gold of the Asian Games proves that this event is a copyright in India in a way.

Hema Das, a new sensation played a key role in that victory. The men’s team in the same distance has been able to win a silver despite being an average performance than the national record.

Neeraj Chopra (Javelin), Jinson Johnson (1500-metre) and Swapna Burman (Heptathlon) won a gold for the first time in the history of these games. Johnson improved national record of Sriram Singh twice this year while Manjit Singh proved that North Indian athletes are quite capable of leaving Kerala and Asia’s legendary athletes behind by giving personal best. Manjit got a gold after 36 years in 800-metre. Hima won a silver with a new national record in 400-metre race. Seema Punia, despite having a good improvement in the previous gold medal, won bronze this time.

Dutee got silver in 100-metre sprint (women) while Mohammed Anas made the best of winning silver after 36 years in the same distance. In these events, African athletes were participating from Qatar and Bahrain, so India lost their sure gold. Same thing happened with Dharun Ayyasamy in 400-metre hurdles and Hima in 400-metre.

With this performance, there has been hope for the Tokyo Olympics for Indian athletes. It is better that Neeraj would continue his practice with his German coach in Finland. Tejinder Pal also got an opportunity to practice continuously in such countries where the level of competition is very high.

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