Asian Games 2023: Most famous Indians who are missing out
Dipa Karmakar (dropped), Vinesh Phogat (injured), Dutee Chand (banned), Rani Rampal (frozen out): Some of India's biggest sportspersons are missing from the 2023 Asian Games.
Asian Games 2023: The largest Asian continental multisports games are around the corner and India are sending their best athletes across sports for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which begin officially on September 23. Some huge fans who many fans associate with their respective sports, however, are not part of India's 655-member contingent.
Some of them failed to make it through the national trials, some were laid low by questionable eligibility criteria, while some other have just failed to come up with noteworthy performances in recent times.
Some fans might ask if India could be losing out on probable medal chances due to these absences, but the bigger question is - can these stars of their sports make strong comebacks or have they run the last race of their career?
The first female gymnast from India to compete in the Olympics in 2016, Dipa Karmakar has been immortalised for her 4th-place finish. She has been left out of the final list due to her failure to meet the Union government's eligibility criteria. Even though in the trials she achieved first place, she was left out as she had not achieved 8th rank in the last 12 months, according to the criteria. Karmakar had been away since 2019 due to injuries and a doping suspension.
Indian sprinter Hima Das, also called 'Dhing Express', was the showstopper of the 2018 Asian Games as she won 2 golds and a silver. But this, she is nowhere in the picture. She did not make any of the qualification standards and ewas even suspended for a whereabouts failures recently. According to reports, her string of injuries continue, her hamstring being the latest victim.
Former world number 1 and Commonwealth gold medalist, Deepika Kumari gave birth to a baby girl in early December. She competed in the first phase of the trials in January and took the ninth spot despite not being in top shape. She was not among the four female recurve archers chosen in the Indian contingent for Hangzhou.
Despite the Tokyo Olympics debacle, Saurabh Chaudhary's international records still show he has won gold in almost every tournament he has ever participated in. He was a gold medallist at the 2018 Asian Games in 10m air pistol event. Even though a full-fledged comeback has been expected from the 21-year-old, he only managed to finish 6th on return at the ISSF World Cup in Rio earlier this week. He had not been able to make it through the national trials, which Sarabjot Singh abd Shiva Narwal topped.
Indian 52 kg category boxer Amit Panghal was the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist but he will not be able to defend his title at this Asian Games as he was not selected by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). He alleged bias in the new selection policy and moved court against the BFI. The court, however, refused to intervene in the matter.
In a latest twist, Amit has been show-caused by the BFI for 'indiscipline'.
One of the most promising young wrestlers on the scene, the 22-year-old Anshu Malik had been the first Indian to win a silver medal at the 2021 World Wrestling Championships. She couldn’t make a cut in the trials after losing to Sarita Mor.
'Dubki King' Pardeep Narwal was part of the last Asian Games kabaddi squad which relinquished the title to Iran. He led Patna Pirated in three marvelous performance seasons in the PKL. However, Narawal, once the best raider in the Indian team, has been left out as he isn’t at his best form in recent years.
The most famous equestrian rider from India, Fouaad won silver medals in both individual as well as team eventing at the 2018 Asian Games. He was the first Indian since 1982 to win a medal at an individual equestrian events at the Asian Games. He was not selected by the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) due to his non-fulfillment of minimum eligibility requirements.
A three-time Asian champion and 2020 Olympics silver medalist in the 57kg category, Ravi Dahiya lost in the first round of the national trials. Currently recovery from a knee injury, it can be strongly expected that Ravi will be back in action soon as the Olympics qualification cycle for Paris 2024 gathers steam.
The young 22-year-old weightlifter was the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, but has performed underwhelminly since then. His name was sent by his federation, but was cut out from the pruned list after Union government clearance.
The 22-year-old golfer, one of the biggest upcoming talents of Indian sports, Diksha Dagar competed both in the 2018 Asian Games and the last Olympic games. Diksha Dagar came 5th in the trials to select the national team.
A few well-known players ended up out of the squad due to unfortunate injuries. Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, got a direct entry into the Asian Games squad but she injured her knee. Rohit Yadav who has a personal best throw of 83.4m in Javelin, is currently out of action with a ligament tear in his right elbow. Kishore Jena will be the javelin thrower accompanying Neeraj Chopra in Hangzhou.
Some cherished and honorable names in the Indian sports fraternity who brought watershed changes in their sports but would be missing this edition of the Asian Games are Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Rani Rampal, and Dutee Chand.
Ageing star Mary Kom believes that she still has 2-3 years left inside the Boxing ring. Saina Nehwal, the former world no. 1 withdrew her name from the Asian Games 2023 trials due to injury. Rani Rampal, ex-Indian team captain, has been left out of the women's hockey team since the last Olympics. Dutee Chand, one of the most recognisable faces in Indian Athletics, is going through a tough times as she was rattled by a four-year doping ban.
As they say, a chance lost for some is just an opportunity for some others. Let us wait and watch which new heroes emerge from the 2023 Asian Games.