The Asian Games 2023 are just around the corner, and India is gearing up to send its largest-ever contingent of 656 athletes to represent the nation in various sports. With such a massive representation, the country is poised to make a significant mark in the multi-nation event hosted in Hangzhou, China, starting on September 23rd. India has a rich history at the Asian Games and is eager to add to its medal tally.
Here we will take you on a thrilling journey through the stories of India’s top gold medal contenders at the Asian Games 2023. These athletes have already made their presence felt on the world stage and are now eyeing glory at the continental level. Let’s delve into the profiles of these remarkable sports stars who are set to shine in Hangzhou.
India’s Top 5 Gold Medal Contenders at Asian Games 2023
Neeraj Chopra – Javelin Throw
When we talk about India’s gold medal contenders, Neeraj Chopra undoubtedly leads the list. The Tokyo Olympic champion has ascended to the status of a world champion and is in the form of his life. At the age of 25, Neeraj Chopra is the epitome of consistency and excellence in javelin throw.
Chopra’s remarkable journey includes registering world-leading throws in consecutive Diamond League events, with distances of 88.67m and 87.66m. However, his crowning achievement was at the World Championships, where he clinched gold with an 88.17m throw. With the possibility of breaching the elusive 90m mark, he is determined to defend his Asian Games gold medal and leave a lasting legacy.
Mirabai Chanu – Weightlifting
Mirabai Chanu, the Tokyo Olympic silver medallist, is a force to be reckoned with in the world of weightlifting. Competing in the 49kg category, the 29-year-old athlete has her sights set on making history as India’s first-ever weightlifter to win a gold medal at the Asian Games.
While the challenge from her Chinese counterpart, Jiang Huihua, who recently won the World Championships, is formidable, Chanu is leaving no stone unturned in her quest for gold. Her illustrious career boasts numerous achievements, but the Asian Games gold remains the missing piece in her cabinet. With determination and rigorous training, she is primed to ascend the podium’s top step and etch her name in Indian sports history.
Bajrang Punia – Wrestling
Bajrang Punia, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist, was India’s sole gold medallist in Men’s Wrestling at the previous edition of the Asian Games. With Ravi Dahiya failing to qualify for the Asiad, the nation’s wrestling hopes now rest on the shoulders of the 29-year-old Bajrang.
Known for his experience and prowess, Bajrang Punia has set his sights on another dazzling performance at Hangzhou. Having secured back-to-back gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, he is well-prepared to add yet another medal to his impressive tally. His exemption from the Asian Games selection trials reflects the faith vested in his abilities, and he is all geared up to deliver another memorable performance.
Nikhat Zareen – Boxing
All eyes will be on Nikhat Zareen during the Asian Games 2023. The 27-year-old boxer, despite being a debutant, has emerged as India’s best boxer over the last two years with her scintillating performances. Her meteoric rise culminated in her winning the World Championships in 2022.
Zareen continued her winning streak by clinching the Commonwealth Games gold in the same year. Earlier this year, she successfully defended her world crown, cementing her status as the favourite entering the Asian Games. With a combination of skill, determination, and a burning desire to succeed, Nikhat Zareen is poised to make a resounding debut at the continental level.
HS Prannoy – Badminton
In the world of badminton, HS Prannoy has been sizzling with hot form in the lead-up to the Asian Games 2023. The 30-year-old shuttler is India’s best bet for a gold medal in the singles category. Prannoy has experienced a rapid rise in the rankings over the last year, courtesy of his consistent performances in the BWF Tour.
Prannoy’s victory at the Malaysian Masters and his runner-up finish at the Australian Open earlier this year serve as a testament to his growing prowess. Notably, badminton has been a sport where India has not yet secured a gold medal at the Asian Games. However, Prannoy’s unwavering consistency and remarkable form have positioned him as one of the strongest contenders for the top-of-the-podium finish in the upcoming edition.
As the Asian Games 2023 draws near, India’s athletes are poised to make the nation proud on the continental stage. The gold medal contenders mentioned in this article represent the country’s best hopes for success. These athletes have exhibited remarkable dedication, skill, and perseverance in their respective sports, and they are determined to bring glory to India. With their eyes set on gold, they will inspire a nation with their performances in Hangzhou, China. The journey to the podium promises to be filled with excitement and anticipation, as India aims to better its previous records and create history at the Asian Games 2023.