Since the inaugural edition of the Asian Games that was held at New Delhi in 1951, India has won a total of 672 medals; PT Usha remains the most successful with 11 medals.
Asian Games- From Proposal to Initiation
In 1947, the Asian Relations Conference was held in New Delhi with representatives from all Asian nations which was led by Jawaharlal Nehru and chaired by prominent Indian political activist Sarojini Naidu.The idea of a multi-discipline sporting event for the Asian countries was first proposed in that assembly.
While evaluating the proposal, the International Olympic Committee suggested to revive the Far Eastern Championship Games, a biennial event that was held between 1913 and 1934. But Guru Dutt Sondhi, the Indian representative at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), suggested a more extensive and inclusive Games for the Asian countries. The inaugural edition was planned in 1950 but was postponed by a year due to delays in preparation.
The 1st Asian Games
On March 4, 1951, the then President of India, Rajendra Prasad, opened the Asian Games at the National Stadium in New Delhi. A total of 489 athletes took part from 11 nations- Afghanistan, Burma (present-day Myanmar), Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka), Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and India. There were 57 medal events in 6 disciplines- Athletics, Aquatics (Diving, Swimming and Water Polo), Basketball, Cycling, Football and Weightlifting. The Mr Asia of 1951, a Men’s Physique competition, was held as a non-medal event.
Japan emerged at the top of the medal table by dominating the event with 60 medals – 24 gold, 21 silver and 15 bronze. India won 51 medals – 15 gold, 16 silver and 20 bronze – at the inaugural edition to finish second behind Japan.
Swimmer Neo Chwee Kok from Singapore won the first-ever gold medal at the Asian Games and also became the most successful individual athlete in that edition with four medals in total.
Sachin Nag created history by clinching India’s first-ever Asian Games gold medal. Nag finished the 100m Freestyle event clocking little over a minute. Basking in the glory of his 100m Freestyle win, Nag also won bronze medal as a part of 4x100m Freestyle Relay team.
Roshan Mistry became the first Indian woman to win an Asian Games medal when she took silver in the 100m Sprint at the Games.
Asian Games- India’s Success Story
Since then, India have won a total of 672 medals- 155 gold, 201 silver and 316 bronze at the Asian Games. The Indian Track and Field athletes have won 254 medals. PT Usha remains the most successful Indian athlete at the Asian Games, with 11 medal- 4 gold and 7 silver.
India have been dominant in Kabaddi, winning seven of the eight editions since the sport debuted in 1990. Their only loss came at Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta.
India’s best medal count came at the Jakarta Games when India won a record 70 medals.
India- Total Medals
|New Delhi 1951||15||16||20||51||2|
|New Delhi 1982||13||19||25||57||5|
India- Medals by Each Sport