The 19th edition of the Asian Games is set to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8 this year.
Here are the five Indian players/teams to watch out as they make their Asian Games debut:
Charanjot Singh - FIFA Online 4
After being a demonstration discipline five years ago, Esports is set to make its Asian Games debut this time as a proper medal event. India’s Charanjot Singh is the top-seeded athlete in FIFAe, one of the seven official Esports events at this edition.
The Chandigarh-born athlete earned the right to be the top seed after he registered commanding victories over Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in August.
Charanjot also represented India in the FIFAe Nations Cup 2023.
Jyothi Yarraji - Women’s 100m Hurdles, 200m
Jyothi Yarraji, the national record holder in women’s 100m hurdles, will make her Asian Games debut in Hangzhou. She is the first Indian woman to run sub-13 seconds in the event.
This season, the 24-year-old from Visakhapatnam won gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok. She also clinched silver at the same tournament in the 200m event and will be in action in both categories in China too.
Jyothi, who has been training at the Reliance Foundation under coach James Hillier for the last few years, recorded her personal best in 100m hurdles - 12.78s - at the World University Games in Chengdu last month.
While on her World Championships debut in Budapest, she could only clock 13.05s and failed to make it past the heats, she will be one of the favourites for the gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the Asiad.
Anahat Singh - Squash
A year after being the youngest member of the Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, 15-year-old Anahat Singh is all set to make her Asian Games debut.
The Delhi girl shot to prominence in 2019 when she won the U-11 title during the British Junior Open Squash and the U-13 title in the Dutch Junior Open Squash. In 2021, she reached the quarterfinals of the Indian Open held at Noida, thus becoming a part of the 2021-22 PSA World Tour.
Earlier this year, Anahat emerged winner in the U-15 category of the British Junior Open Squash, beating Sohaila Hazem of Egypt in the final. Last month, she clinched the gold medal in the U-17 category of the Asian Junior Squash Individual Championships in China.
Nikhat Zareen - Boxing
Boxer Nikhat Zareen is the reigning world and Commonwealth champion in women’s 50kg category. While she has never competed in the Asian Games before, the 27-year-old from Nizamabad is expected to be the favourite for the gold medal.
Win at the Asian Games will also take Nikhat closer to her ultimate dream of an Olympic medal as the Asiad is also a qualifier for Paris Olympics 2024.
Indian men’s and women’s cricket teams
Both Indian men’s and women’s cricket teams will make their Asian Games debut in Hangzhou and will start the event as heavy favourites for the gold medal.
The 15-member men’s team will be led by Ruturaj Gaikwad.
The women’s team will be captained by Smriti Mandhana. Harmanpreet Kaur was initially supposed to lead the team. However, she will miss two matches after being suspended by the International Cricket Council for her outburst in an ODI against Bangladesh. Harmanpreet cannot come back into the team unless it reaches the final.
Both Indian men’s and women’s teams will begin their campaign directly from the quarterfinal stage.
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