India's track record at the Asian Games doesn't do justice to our true potential. In the next two decades, India will transition to a higher level of performance and results
The Asian Games is the second largest sports platform after the Olympics. It's an opportunity for Asian Athletes to showcase their skills & prowess in between the Olympic Cycle.
The 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta will feature about 9,000 athletes representing 45 nationalities across 36 Sports in about 439 events. There is no greater honor for any athlete to hear their national anthem play when they're on the podium. That anthem makes the blood, sweat and tears, worthwhile.
India's record at the Asian Games overall 17 Editions (1951 - 2014) doesn't mirror its potential. Over the last 2 Editions (Guangzhou & Incheon), we have ranked 7th in the medal standing and averaged about 60 Medals per Edition - 12 Gold, 13 Silver & 35 Bronze.
INDIA VERSUS THE REST AT THE ASIAN GAMES
To put relative Asian Games performance in perspective, here are a few statistics from the Incheon Asian Games 2014:
A LOT HAS CHANGED IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS
However, past performance is not an indicator of future success. In the 4 years since Incheon, a lot has changed in Indian Sport and some of these changes are highlighted below:
My prediction is that India will come back from the Asian Games in Jakarta with a total medal haul between 75 - 81 medals, (16-18 Gold, 20-24 Silver and 40-45 Bronze). But in order to win these medals the next 50 days are critical.
50 DAYS TO ASIAN GAMES 2018
With exactly 50 days to the Asian Games in Jakarta, India needs to get a few things in order:
Over the next 50 days, athletes and their coaches need to focus on the following dimensions:
(1) COMPETITIVE PLAY, FOCUS ON TECHNICAL SKILL & GAME ANALYSIS
(2) MENTAL CONDITIONING & PREPARATION
(3) BE WATCHFUL & WARY
(4) REST & REJUVENATION
As India moves forward in its journey to find its rightful place as a regional superpower in Asia, India also needs to demonstrate its growing capabilities in other fields such as sports. Sports signifies the power of the social movement led by the youth of India and is indicative of India's social potential in the immediate future. Sports energizes India, creates positivity all around and ensures an outpouring of national pride.
While wearing the national colors, athletes carry immense responsibility to correctly represent the emerging spirit of India. Remember that 620 Indian athletes carry the hope and aspirations of a billion plus Indians.
India promises to support it's athletes in victory and in defeat. But India does expect these athlete to put on a show, like the world has never seen before. India's performance at the Asian Games 2018 will be a pivotal moment in India's journey as a Sporting Nation and define the next stage of sports development in India.