India has won 71 gold medals in athletics in 17 editions of the Asian Games, with the inaugural competition in New Delhi in 1951 being the best outing, with 10 gold medals. The next best performance came at Bangkok 1978 and Busan 2002, India winning seven gold medals in each. And the most disappointing Games were the 1990 and 1994 editions in Beijing and Hiroshima, respectively, where India failed to win a single gold medal in athletics. The standout performance at the Games came in 1986, when P. T. Usha won four gold medals — including one in the relay — in a one-woman show.
At the 2014 Incheon Games, athletics was once again India’s most successful discipline, the country finishing with 13 medals — two gold, three silver and eight bronze.
This year, Commonwealth Games champion Neeraj Chopra is the big favourite to win the men’s javelin throw. Other gold medals are likely to come in the men’s 800m through national record holder Jinson Johnson and from Tajinder Pal Toor in the men’s shot put. The three mile relays — men, women and mixed — should also see India winning gold, but the country faces a tough challenge from Qatar in the men’s event.
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