Asian Games 2023: 45 participating countries, 8 non-participant Asian countries
45 countries will be part of the 2023 Asian Games. As many as 8 countries which have their territories in Asia will not. India will be aiming for a top-5 finish this time.
The Asian Games, the biggest sports event in the world after the Olympics, will see 45 countries making their way to Hangzhou, China for the edition which will begin with an opening ceremony on September 23.
Hosts China are expected to finish at the top of the medal tally. Here's a look at the other countries taking part and as many as 8 countries which have their territories within Asia who will not be taking part.
Countries participating in 2023 Asian Games
Asian giants China, Japan, South Korea are expected to finish in the top three when the Games close on October 8. China is expecting to finish at the top of the medal tally for the 11th consecutive time. There will be tough competition from Japan which is continuously rising in the sports field.
Here are all the 45 countries that are participating in this year's Asian Games: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, East Timor, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.
Top countries in Asia and their top sports
China are the overwhelming favorites for topping the medal tally as they are one of the best sporting nations in the world. They will be favorites in sports like Diving, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Shooting, Gymnastics and Wushu - sports where China dominates the world.
Japan is currently the second-best country in the all-time medal tally of Asian Games and is likely to be in that spot again in these Asian Games. Their best bet will be Judo, Karate, Women's Wrestling and Athletics.
South Korea is the third-best country in Asia after China and Japan. Their best sports are Taekwondo, Cycling, Women's Handball, and Equestrian.
The top three places are almost guaranteed to go to China, Japan and Korea, but there is very healthy competition for the fourth and fifth-place positions between countries like India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand.
India are sending their largest contingent to the Asian Games and will be expecting a perfect outing in sports like Hockey, Cricket, Kabaddi, Shooting, Squash, and Athletics.
Iran will try to show their dominance in Wrestling, Boxing and other combat sports. Uzbekistan is one of the best countries in Boxing, Kurash, and Wrestling. Heptathlete Ekaterina Voronina is another Uzbek world-beater.
Asian countries not part of Asian Games
There was a time when one more successful nation was part of Asian Games - Israel. Israel was part of the Asian Games five times between 1954 to 1974, but in 1982 OCA banned Israel permanently from the Asian Games due to political reasons.
Israel had a lot of success in the Asian Games. In five editions, they collected 53 medals. Their best sport was Athletics, where they won 19 out of their 53 medals, including 11 golds.
There are a total of eight countries which have their territorries within Asia, but are not part of the Asian Games - Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan (majorly in Europe), Georgia (majorly in Europe), Cyprus (majorly in Europe), Armenia (majorly in Europe), Egypt (majorly in Africa) and Israel. Turkey preferred to join the European Union in 1987 and thus is not counted as an Asian nation in the world of sports.
Russia, along with Belarus, were in fact tipped to be part of the 2023 Asian Games. OCA permitted near about 500 athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in the 19th Asian Games because they were banned from international sporting tournaments. But recently, the IOC denied approval for participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Asian Games.