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  Sports   In Other sports  11 Aug 2018  Asian Games: India pin hopes on expanded squad

Asian Games: India pin hopes on expanded squad

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Aug 11, 2018, 12:38 am IST
Updated : Aug 11, 2018, 12:38 am IST

India were eighth on the overall medals tally at Incheon, with 541 athletes competing in 28 sporting disciplines.

Asiad-bound Indian athletes at a ceremony in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: AP)
 Asiad-bound Indian athletes at a ceremony in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: AP)

New Delhi: Constant expansion has increased India’s Asian Games squad to 572 athletes but will this “more the merrier” approach result in an increased medal count than the last edition?

The Indian Olympic Association was involved in a “prolonged disagreement” with the ministry and several sports federations over selection criteria and size of the squad.

The governing body added 34 new names to the contingent on August 7, just 11 days before the Games, marking the final count to 575, then trimmed it by three on Friday.

IOA’s delay in finalising the squad even irked the sports ministry but the national Olympic body’s president Narinder Batra is hopeful that the chosen final squad — subject to sports ministry’s clearance — will improve on their 57-medal mark (11 gold, 9 sliver, 37 bronze) achieved four years ago.

Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, while sidestepping questions regarding the ministry’s displeasure for delay in finalising the squad that will lead to last-minute logistic tangles, was also optimistic about the athletes’ capabilities.

“The whole process of selection of the Games contingent, be it the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games we leave it to the IOA and the federations. It’s best not to have too many cooks involved in preparation. The responsibility of selection rests with the IOA. If there are major discrepancies, then only it is brought up to us. But we will clear the list as soon as possible. We will respect whatever the IOA communicates to us,” Rathore said.

India were eighth on the overall medals tally at Incheon, with 541 athletes competing in 28 sporting disciplines. The target is to “do better” at Jakarta, with the country competing in 36 disciplines at the 16-day event, beginning on August 18.

“We definitely want to improve on 57. I can’t pinpoint how many we will win but the focus is on winning more,” Batra told this paper on the sidelines of IOA’s send-off ceremony for the athletes.

Tags: asian games, indian olympic association