India’s players performance in Asiad blog by Damodar Prasad Arya


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Kuwait Welcomed Back To Asiad With OCA Warning


Asian Games 2018: Kuwait Welcomed Back To Asiad With OCA Warning


The opening ceremony of the Asian Games will take place on Saturday © AFP


Kuwait was warned by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on Saturday to stop its “world record” of government interference in sport or face being exiled for a third time. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week provisionally lifted its ban on Kuwait, allowing the Gulf state’s athletes to march under their own flag at Saturday’s Asian Games opening ceremony in Jakarta. But the IOC said that despite its “gesture of goodwill” the reasons for its original suspension remained valid. “This is a world record for government interference in the Olympic movement, no country is like this,” OCA director general Husain Al Musallam told AFP after an executive board meeting discussed the matter in Jakarta on Saturday.

“We are very happy for the Kuwait National Olympic Committee and for the athletes,” he said. “We hope this will not happen in the future and the Kuwait government will respect the roadmap they have agreed with the IOC to lead to fresh, clean, transparent and democratic elections based on each sport‘s statutes approved by their respective international bodies.” World sports bodies led by the IOC and FIFA suspended Kuwait in October 2015 for a second time since 2010 for political interference in sport.

The IOC said that in reinstating Kuwait provisionally that it “acknowledged the progress” and the “positive discussions with the Government of Kuwait”.

Al Musallam said Kuwait did not have much time to prove it was trying to meet IOC requirements.

“We are going to review the situation with the IOC on October 3 and 4 to see if any of the agreement has been implemented on the ground, or if there is nothing,” said Al Musallam.




Topics :

Asian Games 2018 Other Sports



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Joint Korean March To Get Asiad Opening Ceremony Started


But organisers insist they are ready, and 4,000 dancers and a 100-piece orchestra will get the party started in Jakarta at a ceremony which organisers say will be watched by billions of people across Asia and beyond.

The main Gelora Bung Karno stadium will be transformed into a verdant mountain, organisers say, and Indonesian celebrity singer Anggun Cipta Sasmi will take to the stage.

The Games website says the ceremony will show the world Indonesia is capable of hosting an international event — but the jury is still out.

On Thursday the online ticketing system crashed, just days after the country admitted a series of malfunctions have been plaguing the light rapid transit system in Palembang, which is co-hosting the games with Jakarta.

A brutal police crackdown on petty crime in the run-up to the Games has also caused alarm, with Amnesty International warning at least 31 suspects had been killed under a “shoot first and ask questions later” operation in Jakarta and south Sumatra.

– ‘Once in a lifetime’ –

Just a few hours before the opening on Saturday, national police chief Tito Karnavian visited the GBK stadium, telling journalists that more than 8,000 security officials would be deployed for the ceremony.

“We are giving special attention to security,” he said at the arena, where more than 300 CCTV cameras with facial recognition technology have been installed.

Around 50,000 people are expected inside the stadium, Games organising committee INASGOC said Saturday, adding that tickets — which range in price from to $50-$350 — had sold out.

Indonesian Gunawan Tri Wasisto, who works in finance, said tickets were costly but worth it.

“This is the moment, we are the host. A bit expensive but for a once-in-a-lifetime event, it doesn’t matter,” he told AFP.

Some locals turned up at the stadium on Saturday morning, hours before the 7:00 pm (1200 GMT) start to soak up the atmosphere.

Bani, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, arrived with his wife and two kids, telling AFP he wanted “to feel the euphoria, see the preparations”.

“The people are also involved,” Bani, 36, added. “You can see people are decorating their neighbourhoods with the Games’ logos.”

Jakarta might be stealing the limelight but several thousand athletes, officials and VIPs are also expected at a welcome evening on Saturday staged in the huge Sports City complex of Palembang.

As well as performances by local and international musicians, Jakarta’s opening ceremony will be broadcast live on a huge screen outside the main stadium of the city that will host 13 of the sporting events, including shooting, bowling and beach volleyball.

About 18,000 athletes and officials from 45 Asian countries will be at the Asiad, organisers said, looking to make their mark across a range of sports including bridge, jetski, paragliding and sepak takraw, as well as nearly the full Olympic programme.



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Sushil Kumar Ready To Show Class On Asiad Return


Age might be catching up on Sushil Kumar but his hunger to win and his never say die attitude on the mat will make the wrestling icon one of India’s best medal prospects in the upcoming Asian Games, scheduled to start from August 18 in Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. The 35-year-old, who is returning to the multi-sporting event after missing out on the 2010 and 2014 editions, would like to end on a high as the upcoming summit might probably be his last Asian event. Having won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in April earlier this year, similar is expected from the two-time Olympic medallist who will once again spearhead the Indian wrestling contingent at the Games.

The former world champion, who will contest in 74kg freestyle category at the Asiad, has gone through several training sessions in the run up to the 18th Asian Games since May. His training has been mostly in India but trips to Turkey and Georgia have helped Sushil prepare for the quadrennial event.

Sushil last month suffered a shocking 4-8 defeat to Polish grappler Andrzej Piotr Sokalski at Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia, which was his first in more than four years. The loss came out as a surprise for many including Sushil, but the veteran asserted that the defeat taught him a lot.

Sushil Kumar in June, along with three top wrestlers (Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat) was exempted from Asian Games 2018 trials after his successful outings in CWG in Gold Coast.

He is likely to face tough challenge from wrestlers of Iran, Japan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan at Asiad, but his stature as India’s most prolific wrestler will certainly make him a big draw in the event.

 



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Tough Challenges Await As India Eye Asiad Glory After Chaotic Build-Up


The build-up to the Asiad has been quite chaotic with complaints and even court cases about selection matters, usual controversies over the size of the contingent which came to 804 athletes and officials combined, and not to forget, the credentials of the travelling officials.

But as has been the case with Indian sports for the past several decades, the athletes would try to ensure that focus remains firmly on the results once the competition gets underway after the customary opening ceremony.

India had equalled their best performance in terms of medals won in the 2014 Asiad with a total of 57, including 11 gold, and the contingent of 572 athletes this time would definitely be hoping to better that.

The contenders range from a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Haryana in Manu Bhaker (shooting) to the proven-but-struggling Sushil Kumar (wrestling) to the in-form and consistently rising to new heights, Neeraj Chopra (javelin throw).

Then there are the likes of Hima Das, a sprint sensation, who has raised hopes by becoming the first Indian woman to claim a world championships gold, in the under-20 competition.

There is no denying the fact that she will among the favourites at the Games in Jakarta.

India’s track-and-field stars have historically done well at the Asiad, delivering 282 medals so far, 74 of them gold. And it is not expected to be any different this time.

On the badminton court, PV Sindhu would be hoping to break her final jinx. But once again a strong field will stand in the way given that shuttlers from traditional power-centres China, Thailand, and Japan will be in action.

Saina Nehwal’s grit and ability to bring her A-game to the table on the big stage can never be discounted but it remains to be seen how her body responds to what has been a gruelling season so far.

Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy are also among those expected to contribute to India’s medal tally.

India can also hope for a good show on the wrestling mat where the in-form duo of Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat are being seen as sure-shot medal hopes.

Punia not only won a gold at CWG but also emerged champion at Tbilisi Grand Prix and Yasar Dogu International in the run-up to the Jakarta Games.

However, it’s redemption time for a few struggling stars. Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik are not in the best of form.

Sushil recently lost his first bout in four years at the Tbilisi GP in Georgia and Sakshi failed to reach the medal round at Yasar Dogu in Istanbul.

Their reputations are at stake and nothing less than gold will be able to redeem those.

The men’s hockey team will be aiming for a gold and a direct entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The team, which recently ended runners-up to Australia at the Champions Trophy, does not have many tough nuts to crack and it will only be a disaster if they return without gold.

The women’s hockey team missed out on a historic place in the World Cup semi-finals but the Rani Rampal-led side is expected to fare better and improve on its bronze-medal show in Incheon.

At the shooting ranges of Palembang, Manu will hold centre-stage and given her form, it would be a surprise if she lets the spotlight shift anywhere else.

The boxing arena will have some strong Indian presence too with the likes of Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa and the fast-rising Gaurav Solanki presenting India’s men’s challenge. Among the women, world silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi will be a medal hope.

The tennis contingent is already grappling with the kind of drama that has become its trademark at every major event.

The last-minute pull-out by Leander Paes for not getting a “specialist” men’s doubles partner means that coach-cum-captain Zeeshan Ali has to re-work combinations in men’s and mixed doubles.

In the absence of world champion Mirabai Chanu, India’s challenge has weakened in weightlifting.

In table tennis, Manika Batra would be aiming for an encore of her golden run at the CWG but it would be easier said than done, given the Chinese and Japanese presence in the draw. Among the men, veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal would be the one to watch out for.

Dipa Karmakar would be continuing her spirited return from injury in the gymnastics arena and it would be interesting what she attempts on the vault.

In all, close to 11,000 athletes from 45 countries will be in action at the Games, which will conclude on September 2.

(With PTI inputs)



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Sushil Kumar Ready To Show Class On Asiad Return


Age might be catching up on Sushil Kumar but his hunger to win and his never say die attitude on the mat will make the wrestling icon one of India’s best medal prospects in the upcoming Asian Games, scheduled to start from August 18 in Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. The 35-year-old, who is returning to the multi-sporting event after missing out on the 2010 and 2014 editions, would like to end on a high as the upcoming summit might probably be his last Asian event. Having won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in April earlier this year, similar is expected from the two-time Olympic medallist who will once again spearhead the Indian wrestling contingent at the Games.

The former world champion, who will contest in 74kg freestyle category at the Asiad, has gone through several training sessions in the run up to the 18th Asian Games since May. His training has been mostly in India but trips to Turkey and Georgia have helped Sushil prepare for the quadrennial event.

Sushil last month suffered a shocking 4-8 defeat to Polish grappler Andrzej Piotr Sokalski at Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia, which was his first in more than four years. The loss came out as a surprise for many including Sushil, but the veteran asserted that the defeat taught him a lot.

Sushil Kumar in June, along with three top wrestlers (Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat) was exempted from Asian Games 2018 trials after his successful outings in CWG in Gold Coast.

He is likely to face tough challenge from wrestlers of Iran, Japan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan at Asiad, but his stature as India’s most prolific wrestler will certainly make him a big draw in the event.

 



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India Women’s Hockey Team Aims To Better 2014 Asiad Bronze


The 2018 Asian Games is upon us and a lot is riding on the women’s hockey team to better their bronze medal finish at the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea. The team come into this tournament after a quarter-final finish in the recently-concluded Women’s Hockey World Cup. Ireland had beaten India 3-1 via a shoot-off in the quarters breaking the latter’s 44-year-old dream of reaching the last four. This team had a fruitful 2017 with skipper Rani Rampal leading them to the 9th Women’s Asia Cup triumph.

The Asian Games squad was announced last month with forward Rani leading the pack. Ace goalkeeper Savita has been named the vice-captain and she will be joined by Rajani Etimarpu at the goalpost. India’s defence will feature the experienced Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Reena Khokhar and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur while the team’s midfield will include Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Udita, Nikki Pradhan and Neha Goyal.

Other forwards alongside the experienced Rani are Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur and Navjot Kaur.

Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne highlighted the need for the right mixture of youth and experience in the squad. “We have a good mixture of experienced and young players. I’m happy to note that each one of them have experienced what it is like to play high level matches,” Marijne said.

This is the best chance for the team to win gold given their successful Asian tournament outings (Asian Champions Trophy – winners in 2016; runners-up in 2018).

Complete Squad:

Goalkeepers: Savita (vice-capt), Rajani Etimarpu

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar

Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal

Forwards: Rani Rampal (capt), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur.



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Kidambi Srikanth, India’s Badminton Medal Hope At Asiad


Srikanth clinched silver in the men’s singles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia. At the jam-packed Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, the 25-year-old lost the final to Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei 21-19, 14-21, 14-21.

Srikanth, who has 174 wins and 83 loss career record, had a stupendous 2017 season. He won a record four Super Series titles 2017 – Indonesia Open, Australian Open, Denmark Open and French Open.

Srikanth won the Indonesia Super Series beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai 21-11, 21-19.

The youngster went on to win the Australian Super Series title, beating China’s Chen Long 22-20, 21-16 in the summit clash. With this win, he set an Indian record for entering three consecutive Super Series finals.

He clinched the Denmark Super Series title by beating Lee Hyun-il of Korea 21-10, 21-5.

Srikanth continued his magnificent run at the French Super Series too. The in-form shuttler edged past Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-14, 21-13 in the final.

Srikanth didn’t have had a good start at the BWF World Championships, where he lost in straight games to Malaysia’s Daren Liew in the pre-quarterfinal stage, but

considering his current form, the star player may turn the table for India when he hits the court in Jakarta.

Since the inception of Asian Games in 1951, India have represented in all 17 editions of the event, winning 616 medals at the mega event – 139 Gold, 178 Silver and 299 Bronze medals. The 2018 edition will be India’s 18th Asian Games appearance.

India have won 8 medals in badminton at Asian Games and finished third on the podium on all occasions.

India will aim to better their record in the individual event as they haven’t won a singles medal since Syed Modi’s bronze in 1982, Asian Games, Delhi.



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Neeraj Chopra Says He Wants To Give His Best At Asiad


One of India’s best bets for an athletics gold at the upcoming Asian Games, Neeraj Chopra is determined to focus on the job at hand and not put extra pressure on himself. “It is a great honour for me to lead the Indian contingent and carry the country’s flag at such a prestigious event. As far as my preparations for the Asian Games are concerned, I want to say that I am not thinking about any medal or rank, all I want to do is give my best there,” Neeraj said in a statement on Thursday.

“These three-four months in Europe have been very productive and I got a chance to compete in a lot of competitions in between. I am feeling good and as I said, my only target is to give my best in Jakarta,” he added. 

Neeraj will lead the Indian contingent at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games. 

The 20-year-old has top class credentials by virtue of being the first Indian to win a gold medal at a World Championships. This came courtesy his victory at the 2016 World Youth Championships. But Neeraj has continued with his feats in the javelin throw.

In 2018, Neeraj has maintained his fine form, consistently throwing the javelin beyond the 85m mark this year and also has set a new national record of 87.43 at the Doha Diamond League in May.

In fact, the five best throws by an Asian athlete this year are all in his name. He has no shortage of titles too. The most significant of these was the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia which made Neeraj only the first Indian javelin thrower to win that competition.

Neeraj will however not be overconfident in Jakarta. Amongst his competitors is Chinese Taipei’s Chao Tsun-Cheng who holds the Asian record of 91.36m. However, Cheng has been very inconsistent and has failed to produce his best throw when it has mattered most.

At the Asian Championships last year, there had been great expectations from Cheng but he only managed to take sixth place with an effort of 80.03m. At that competition, it was Neeraj who had romped to the gold medal with a throw of 85.23m.

While Neeraj will be bidding for gold, his compatriot Shivpal Singh could also get on the podium. Singh qualified for the Asian Games with a throw of 82.28m at the Inter-State Championships. That mark leaves him in fourth place this year amongst Asian throwers.



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Dipa Karmakar, ‘Vault Of Death’ Queen, Eyes Maiden Asiad Medal


Dipa Karmakar introduced India to ‘Produnova’, as vault technique that is difficult enough to be named the ‘vault of death.’ Till date, the vault is considered one of the hardest acts performed in women’s artistic gymnastics, under the 2017 Code of Points. Dipa, an Arjuna Award winner, however has made it easy for the eyes of the viewers, as she pulls out the vault with composure and balance. Dipa will carry the burden of the nation’s hopes to earn a medal at the forthcoming Asian Games. She topped the two-day trials held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi, ahead of fellow gymnasts Pranati Das, Aruna Reddy, Mandira Chowdury and Pranati Nayak – who have also made it to the Asian Games squad.

Dipa’s participation at the Asian level comes after she etched her name in history by clinching the top spot at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Mersin, Turkey in July. The 25-year-old Dipa overcame a career-threatening knee injury to achieve the feat.

The Tripura star gymnast’s coach Bisweshwar Nandi, however, has brushed off any claim of clinching the top spot in the Asian Games.

Nandi has said that the first and foremost aim of his ward will be to reach the final of the artistic gymnastic discipline. He also asserted that there will be an increase in the training time for Dipa in anticipation of the Asian Games.

Dipa underwent a month-long training stint in Moscow for a successful return to the Games, which get underway in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 18.

Indian gymnastics squad:

Women’s: Dipa Karmakar, Pranati Das, Aruna Reddy, Mandira Chowdhury, Pranati Nayak.

Men’s: Rakesh Patra, Yogeshwar Singh, Gaurav Kumar, Ashish Kumar, Siddharth Verma.



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