India return from Indonesia with a tally of 69 medals, their best-ever at Asian Games whereas the number of gold medals are best since the first Asiad in 1951. India registered it’s best-ever medal tally by winning 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals, at the Asian Games 2018.
The only other time that happened was when Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister and independent India was four years old, in 1951. The Indian men’s hockey team defeated Pakistan 2-1 in the bronze medal playoff, taking the medal haul to 69, four more than its previous best that came in 2010 in Guangzhou.
This, despite India floundering in kabaddi, where it seemed all they needed to win gold was show up, not being able to defend the men’s hockey title, losing the women’s hockey final, and two-time Olympic wrestling medallist Sushil Kumar exiting in the first round of the men’s 74kg.
That a number of our gold medallists are young — flag-bearer Chopra will be 21 in December, Dutee Chand, who took on the international athletics federation and won before breezing to the 100m and 200m silver, is 22, Phogat is 24, we have a group of young shooters who win international medals regularly and badminton stars who are among the world’s best — gives us hope that they will go faster, higher and stronger.
Another pleasing factor was the number of national records and personal bests that were set. Indian track and field athletes have often been guilty of under-performing at major events. This time, however, four athletes – Dharun Ayyasamy, Hima Das, Tejinder Singh Toor and Neeraj Chopra – set national records while several others achieved their personal best marks.