Superstar javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will be the flag bearer for the Indian contingent during the opening ceremony of the 18th edition of Asian Games in Jakarta. The 20-year-old athlete will be leading the Indian group which consist of at least 540 athletes of various disciplines. The Indian contingent boasts of Leander Paes, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Hima Das and so on.
Neeraj Chopra is a relatively young gun in the sporting business but his trophy cabinet gives a run for the money to many veterans. Chopra, who just turned 20, is a serial winner when it comes to performing at the highest level. He has won a gold medal at World Junior Championships, Asian Championships, South Asian Games and Commonwealth Games so far in his short career.
The Haryana-born javelin thrower jointly holds the national record of the longest throw of 82.23 metres which he accomplished at 2016 South Asian Games. He also broke the junior world record with a giant throw of 86.48 metres in the same year at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. In 2018, he bested his personal record at the Commonwealth Games where he secured a gold medal after a colossal throw of 86.47 metres.
There are at least 276 men and another 247 women participating in the Asian Games 2018 for India. Aquatics – Diving has the least Indian representation with 1 participant while Athletics has most at 51. However, it is wrestling, shooting and badminton which has the strongest Indian contenders.
Asian Games 2018 are just over a week from commencement in Indonesia’s Jakarta and Palembang, and there is a massive wave of hope and promise among the Indian fans. One crucial factor which is driving such hope is the availability of world-class talent at disposal. It will be interesting to see how the Indian superstars will fare at the two-week-long mega sporting event.