The 19th edition of the Asian Games will begin with an opening ceremony on the 23rd of September 2023 at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Expo Center and will conclude on 8th October 2023. However, the cricket tournament will begin on 19th of September alongside football, while rowing events will begin on 20th September. Originally scheduled to take place from 10 to 25 September 2022, on 6 May 2022 the Games were postponed to 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its worth mentioning that Hangzhou will become the third Chinese city to host the Asian games with Beijing hosting it in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
As far as Indian interest is concerned, as many as 634 athletes across 38 sporting disciplines will compete to bag top honors for the country. A total of 572 athletes participated in last Asiad where India bagged 70 medals including 16 gold.
Eyes will be on Indian cricket team which boasts of some young talents that can go on to clinch the gold medal which will also speak the volume of Indian cricket bench strength. The top four teams in the rankings have directly qualified for the quarter final stages as a result India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have earned a spot in the knockouts. The Indian men’s team will play their quarter final game on 3rd October while the women’s team begin their campaign from 21st September in the quarter finals as well.
After a gap of 9 years, Indian football team will also mark its presence at the Asiad with both men’s and women’s fighting for the honors. Its worth mentioning that Asian Games football tournament is played in Under 23 category with only three players allowed over 23 years of age group. This will be another huge exposure to Indian football team’s to compete against the Asia’s top side but it will be tough for them to return home with a medal considering the presence of heavyweights like Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, China, North Korea and to name a few more.
Lot will be at stake as Indian shooters and archers will also aim for glory. Indian wrestling has also been highlighted with all the wrong reasons with sexual harassment allegations levelled by top Indian wrestlers on former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh and they will hope to make a glorious comeback by winning some medals to reclaim the top honors that Indian wrestling thoroughly deserves.
Indian boxers have also done well in International events recently and Asiad will again get them a chance to showcase their prowess and bag medals for the country. India will face stern test in racket sports like badminton and table tennis where East Asian countries have done well historically.
In the tennis discipline, Rohan Bopanna is expected to continue his glorious run and bag top honors for India, what could prove to be his last Asian Games. Sumit Nagal has been on a rise by being the runner up of the recently concluded Challenger Tulln and will be expected for a good run in China.
India is really competitive in athletics when it comes to Asiad and Neeraj Chopra will surely spearhead the Indian athletics contingent. He is expected to defend his gold medal which he won in the last edition and lot more Indian athletes are expected to bag medals for the country.
India is clear favorites when it comes to men’s and women’s hockey and bagging the top honors will see them get a direct qualification to Paris Olympic games 2024. Kabaddi is another discipline where India can bag top honors in women’s and men’s discipline if Iran doesn’t play out of their skin to pip they like they did in last edition when it comes to men’s kabaddi.
Chess is another discipline where the like of Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa and others will be eyeing glory. Some unusual sports like Equestrian, bridge, E Sports, sepaktakraw, wushu, rowing can also get India some medals.
Here’s the complete list-