Asian Games 2010: India is ready as China all set to floor the world

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By Victor DSouza, Doha
From various sources
Bellevision Media Network

Friday, 12 November 2010: India is hoping to follow their impressive performance at the Commonwealth Games with another big medal haul at the Asian Games in Guangzhou but tougher competition awaits them in China. India finished eighth in the medals table with 10 golds in the previous Asian Games in Doha four years ago and their second-place finish in Delhi will raise hopes of an improvement at the event which starts Friday.


The stage is set, and China is ready to set the Pearl River on fire. Even as suspense builds up as to who would light the cauldron, and how it would be done, there is no mystery as to who would dominate the 16th edition of the Asian Games that is set to spring to life on Friday. Once it floors the rest of the world with what promises to be a breathtaking opening ceremony, China will get to the business of scooping the gold medals, and possibly end up with a record haul.


China had won 164 of the 426 gold medals in the last edition in Doha, which pales in comparison to the 183 of 313 gold medals that it had won in Beijing, two decades ago, when it hosted the Games for the first time. Though Korea and Japan were reduced to clutching 58 and 50 gold medals respectively in 2006, when the Chinese women alone had accounted for 91 gold, it may not be possible for China to crush the former leaders of the region any further and unrealistically set a target of 200 gold medals from a total of 476 that would be on offer.


Kazakhstan (23 gold), Thailand (13), Iran (11) and Uzbekistan (11) had all finished ahead of India (10) in Doha. The equation may not change much though Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Qatar and Singapore would attempt to overtake India. Pakistan will try to show its prowess in cricket and hockey. In short, there will be something for most of the nations to prove, leading to a lively fortnight.




Indian athletes bagged 38 gold medals in Delhi CWG to push England to third place in the medals tally and finish on a high after shambolic preparations threatened to turn the event into a national embarrassment. But that creditable performance might have its flip-side with many athletes having to find peak form again less than one month later. Shooting, boxing and wrestling are expected to bring home the bulk of the medals for India in the Nov. 12-27 Games, while kabaddi -- a form of tag which originated in South East Asia -- billiards and chess are also expected to add to the tally.


Led by Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and Commonwealth Games hero Gagan Narang, Indian shooters would look to carry forward their stupendous CWG form into the Asian Games as the competition begin here on Saturday. Indian shooters had set the shooting range set on fire at CWG by wining 14 golds but the road would not be that smooth here as the field comprises some really tough customers. But shooters are expected to win the first medals for the country tomorrow in the Games, the biggest multi-discipline sporting event after Olympics.


The 27-year-old Narang, who stole the thunder from Bindra at the CWG with a four-gold haul, is going into the contest on a high while Bindra has gone off the boil a bit after becoming India’s first Olympic individual champion two years ago. Narang is also in the running to pick up medals in the team competition in the 10m air rifle that will be held concurrently, with Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput being the other team members. A total of 25 men and 15 women shooters have been named in the Jumbo Indian contingent for the Games, with the hope that they would provide a big boost to the country’s medal hopes.




In a sport dominated by continental powerhouses like China, Korea and Iran, the Indian weightlifting squad is going into the Asian Games competitions with very modest hopes of winning medals. The country has come here with a 13-member team comprising of eight men and five women lifters but is aiming to secure a medal each in only the men’s 69 and plus 105 kg categories through participants Ravi Kumar and Sarabjit Singh, according to team manager K Subramanyam.


The Indian men`s hockey team, aiming to book a berth in the 2012 London Olympics after missing out Beijing Games two years, needs to look at the immediate picture at hand before thinking of the bigger scenario, according to national coach Harendra Singh. The men`s team have been placed in Pool B along with Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong China. The women`s competition will be played in a round robin format among China, South Korea, Japan, India, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Thailand. In the Doha Asiad in 2006, the Indian men finished fifth while the women won the bronze medal


Commonwealth Games gold medallist and women’s badminton world number three Saina Nehwal is another hope but will have to overcome fierce competition from the Chinese. The absence of Leander Paes, who is playing in the doubles at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, will make it tough for India to defend their two tennis gold medals -- from men’s doubles and mixed doubles -- won in Doha. The onus will fall on Somdev Devvarman and glamour girl Sania Mirza to win the singles events.



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