high hopes

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Aug 2018 15:42:09

PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has expressed the hope that the Indian contingent would give its best at the 18th Asian Games, that got underway in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday. Cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar has also called upon the countrymen to support the Indian contingent and exhorted them to watch them do what they do best. Similar sentiments will prevail throughout the duration of the Asian Games. There would be elation and disappointments, cheers and jeers, in the games village and back home as well. But the country will be placing hopes on the athletes to bring glory to the nation at one of the prestigious international events after the Olympic Games.

The Indian contingent had done well at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia a few months ago. But the Asian Games is an all together different proposition. With the presence of international sporting giants as China, Japan and the Koreas, the competition is tougher than Commonwealth Games as even in events like the Olympic Games and other world meets these countries are rated very highly. China, in particular, along with its economic might, has emerged as one of the big sporting powers, giving tough competition to traditional sporting super powers like the United States, Russia, Britain and other European nations. So India will have to contend with such competition. Indian team managers are well aware of this and appear to have geared up to meet the challenge.

But India too has taken long strides in sports in recent years.India can boast of some sterling performances at various international events by its sportspersons who have brought laurels to the country. Badminton, for example, where a medal had remained elusive for 28-long years, is one discipline which can fetch the country some medals. Similarly there are other promising disciplines like shooting, wrestling, tennis, hockey. India’s supremacy in wrestling, in particular ,will be under challenge from traditional rivals like Japan and Iran. But the Indians have fared well in various international events held recently and hope to match the challenge.

Since competition in the Asian Games is considered as tough as the Olympic Games, it will be good preparation for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. The Indian sportspersons will have enough time to remove their shortcomings and prepare for the world event in the next one year. There are teenagers, for instance, in the Indian shooting contingent, who would have great exposure at this level, which will give them the necessary confidence to face tougher competition at higher level of world class. That will be the gain from this Asiad.