Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Aug 2018 12:09:41

TEENAGERS gunning for gold, people from hinterlands coming up with extravagant shows, hitherto unknown sports swelling the medals tally, it is a wonderful sporting story unfolding at Jakarta in the ongoing 2018 Asian Games. While India was rightly expected to come back with a rich medal haul from this edition of Asiad, it is the country’s rise in unrecognised sports that adds an important footnote to the success story in Indonesia.

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has paid deserving tributes to the athletes for their spectacular performance in Jakarta. In his monthly radio broadcast Mann ki Baat Mr. Modi has termed the success in Wushu and Rowing as a proof of rising stature of Indian sports and athletes. This is perfect analysis of India’s performance in the Asian Games. There are still events to go where India would definitely make its mark, but the gains so far can be termed as a bright start for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Rich medal haul in the Commonwealth Games has been a regular feature for India. However, its lower scale and lack of proper competition took the sheen off CWG performances. It is not the case with Asian Games where sporting powerhouses of Asia enter with all their might to emerge best in the region. India has been a serious contender right from the start when it hosted the first Asian Games in 1951. From New Delhi to Jakarta, the way Indian sports has travelled is a beautiful journey where some great names marked wonderful milestones. This edition of the Games is a fine melange of traditional success and victories from unexpected heroes. This is the true triumph for Indian sports.

Medals came from Wushu, Rowing as well as Sepak Takraw. All these games are second cousins in Indian sport’s ecosystem which pins hopes on success from hockey, shooting, badminton, boxing and wrestling. More good news is now expected from table tennis arena and track and field events. Tajinder Singh Toor made the right start with record-making gold in shot put. The field of athletes India has worked on silently in last many years is strong enough to make its mark.

This success is a big certificate to the serious efforts various stakeholders are putting in nurturing these sports. Any country’s sporting success is the final output of an undiluted culture, tremendous belief in its athletes and dogged determination to back them in all seasons. Sporting powerhouses have shown this in all events, be it Olympics or various leagues. For India, this is just the start. With schemes like Khelo India and Target Olympic Podium (TOP) in place the medals graph will only see an upward curve in the coming years.