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India at the Asian Games- From Sachin Nag’s first medal to a total of 672 medals till date

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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

Rajendra Prasad at the inauguration of 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 at the podium

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

Edition Gold Silver Bronze Total medals Rank
New Delhi 1951 15 16 20 51 2
Manila 1954 5 4 8 17 5
Tokyo 1958 5 4 4 13 7
Jakarta 1962 10 13 10 33 3
Bangkok 1966 7 3 11 21 5
Bangkok 1970 6 9 10 25 5
Tehran 1974 4 12 12 28 7
Bangkok 1978 11 11 6 28 6
New Delhi 1982 13 19 25 57 5
Seoul 1986 5 9 23 37 5
Beijing 1990 1 8 14 23 11
Hiroshima 1994 4 3 16 23 8
Bangkok 1998 7 11 17 35 9
Busan 2002 11 12 13 36 7
Doha 2006 10 17 26 53 8
Guangzhou 2010 14 17 34 65 6
Incheon 2014 11 10 36 57 8
Jakarta 2018 16 23 31 70 8

India- Medals by Each Sport

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total medals
Athletics 79 88 87 254
Wrestling 11 14 34 59
Shooting 9 21 28 58
Boxing 9 16 32 57
Tennis 9 6 17 32
Kabaddi 9 1 1 11
Cue Sports 5 4 6 15
Field hockey 4 11 6 21
Equestrian 3 3 6 12
Golf 3 3 0 6
Board games 3 0 4 7
Rowing 2 5 16 23
Diving 2 1 2 5
Football 2 0 1 3
Sailing 1 7 12 20
Archery 1 4 5 10
Squash 1 3 9 13
Swimming 1 2 6 9
Water polo 1 1 1 3
Weightlifting 0 5 9 14
Badminton 0 1 9 10
Wushu 0 1 8 9
Cycling 0 1 2 3
Volleyball 0 1 2 3
Kurash 0 1 1 2
Judo 0 0 5 5
Roller sports 0 0 2 2
Table tennis 0 0 2 2
Canoeing 0 0 1 1
Gymnastics 0 0 1 1
Taekwondo 0 0 1 1
Sepaktakraw 0 0 1 1

 

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PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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