On the final day of the Asian Games, India finished with its best-ever medal haul at the regional showpiece. India finished eighth in the overall medal tally for the third consecutive time. India also equaled its highest gold medal tally with 15 golds. Apart from 15 golds, India bagged 24 silver and 30 bronze medals in the two-week sports extravaganza.
On day 14 of the Games in Indonesia, India won medals in boxing, squash, hockey, and bridge. Boxer Amit Panghal clinched gold in the men’s 49kg event. Women’s squash team won silver for the second consecutive edition. The men’s hockey team beat neighbors Pakistan to win the bronze medal. And Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Sarkar bagged gold in the men’s pair bridge event.
Amit Panghal overcame reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan to bring home the gold medal. Amit, 22 is the lone Indian boxer to make it to the finals in Indonesia. Courtesy of a split decision in the final bout, Amit ensured another gold for India. In the five-round bout, Amit won the finals 3-2. He accumulated 30 points awarded by 5 judges, whereas as the Uzbek’s total was 27.
Vikas Krishan became the only other Indian boxer to win a medal at the ongoing Games. He won bronze after he was declared medically unfit to take part in the semi-finals. He had sustained an eye injury in the pre-quarterfinal clash that aggravated in the quarter-finals and forced him out of the semi-final.
The pair of Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Sarkar also struck gold at the 18th edition of the Asian Games. Bardhan, 60 became the oldest gold medallist at the Games. Bardhan and Shibnath, 56, won the third medal for India in Bridge, which made its debut at this Asiad. Earlier in the Games, India had won two bronze medals in the men’s and mixed team event.
The women’s squash team of Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, and Sunayna Kuruvilla lost the finals of the team event to Hong Kong 0-2 to bag the silver medal. Kuruvilla lost her singles match against Tze Lok Ho. Chinappa lost the must-win match against Annie 8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 3-11. This silver is the fifth medal for the squash contingent at the ongoing Games and their second consecutive silver in the team event at the Asian Games.
The men’s hockey team who lost out on the chance to strike gold made the most of their bronze medal clash against Pakistan. The defending champions beat Pakistan 2-1 to finish on the podium. Akashdeep Singh and Harmanpreet Singh found the net of the opponent’s goal at the 3rd and 50th minutes of the game respectively. Pakistan’s lone strike came in the 52nd minute but was not quite enough to seal the win. Sreejesh and co. would be a little disappointed even after a podium finish, because they lost out on direct qualification to Tokyo Olympics 2020, just like the women’s team. Both the men’s and women’s team would now have to take a long drawn route to qualify for the Olympics in 2020.
India has improved their medal tally from the previous editions of the Games. New athletes have come to the fore with their performances and several records have been broken in this edition. Though there are disappointments, India has finished with a strong performance, especially in Athletics and Shooting. With this successful outing in Indonesia, we can hope that these performances can translate into better results in Tokyo in 2020.