PT Usha confident of strong India show at Hangzhou Asian Games

Indian Olympics Association (IOA) president PT Usha has backed India to deliver their best-ever medal haul at the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou. India have announced a 634-strong contingent, their largest-ever squad for the continental Games that begin on September 23.

Indian Olympics Association (IOA) president PT Usha speaks on India’s chances in Asian Games

“I expect our athletes to do very well at the Asian Games. Our government and IOA have done everything possible to ensure they get the right support and the athletes have responded very well. Our performance at the World Athletics Championships has shown we are on the right track; I am sure they will cross their best-ever medal haul in Hangzhou,” said the former track queen who became IOA president last December.

India won a record 70 medals (16 gold, 23 silver, 31 bronze) at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games to finish eighth on the table.

The sustained success of javelin ace Neeraj Chopra has boosted Indian track and field. “Neeraj Chopra’s success has inspired a generation of athletes. We must also not forget the performance of our men’s relay team at the Worlds. I don’t want to speculate on the number of medals, but I am certain the haul will be bigger than the last edition,” the 59-year-old said.

“It’s a joy to watch Neeraj dominate the world stage. I was in the stadium when he won his world junior title in 2016 and was impressed with his smooth technique. Since then, he hasn’t disappointed me. Like so many Indians, I stayed late to watch him in action at the World Championships final. He had won silver last year, but nothing beats a gold. He has the makings of becoming one of India’s greatest athletes.”

As an Asian Games stalwart, Usha won 11 medals across four editions (1982, ’86, ’90, 94). “In athletics, I feel long and triple jumpers have a decent medal chance. Given the exposure they have had in recent years, I think they will do well. I also expect our shooters and wrestlers to come good.”

With 254 medals, athletics has been the biggest contributor to India’s overall tally at the Games, followed by wrestling (59), shooting (58) and boxing (57).

The ‘Payyoli Express’ slipped into a reverie at the mention of the 1986 Seoul Asiad, which she set alight with a haul of four gold and a silver. “I remember India was placed outside the top 10 in the medals tally before my events; as I began to win, our ranking soared. Ultimately, we finished fourth. It’s a great feeling when you help your country rise.

“After a few races, even the Koreans began chanting my name. I made many pen friends who wrote to me for years. It’s a great stage to perform. All I want to tell our athletes is ‘give your best and don’t forget to enjoy the experience’.”

India is scheduled to host the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session for the first time in 40 years, in Mumbai. The only previous IOC session in India was in 1983. Usha believes the October 15-17 event will mark an important milestone in India’s plans to host the Olympics.

“The 140th IOC session in Mumbai will show the world that India has the readiness and capacity to host the Olympics in 2036,” she said. India has not officially launched a campaign though talk about the country making its maiden Olympics bid has been on since late 2021. Last year, union sports minister Anurag Thakur expressed India’s readiness to bid for the 2036 Olympics and a roadmap for it is likely to be presented at the IOC session.

“With Indian athletes doing so well at the world stage the time is right for us to go for it. If we get it, I am sure we will be able to pull it off,” Usha said. Though no city has been officially announced as a likely host, Ahmedabad is seen as the front-runner. A multi-city bid can’t be ruled out either. Paris, Los Angeles and Brisbane will host the next three Olympics.

IOC president Thomas Bach had recently spoken in favour of cricket’s return at the Olympics, with a T20 competition likely to be played at the 2028 LA Games. Cricket was last part of the 1900 Paris Olympics. Cricket is one of nine sports in the running, alongside flag football, baseball/softball, lacrosse, breaking, karate, kickboxing, squash and motorsport.

The IOC in a statement said on Wednesday that its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on Friday will not discuss the LA Games sports programme as the IOC Olympic Programme Commission is yet to finalise its recommendations.

Asked about cricket’s possible return to the Olympics, Usha said: “As far as cricket’s inclusion is concerned, I don’t wish to comment on it till the IOC session. We’ll talk cricket after that.”

Denial of responsibility! is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – at The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Read original article here

Leave A Reply