Asian Games 2023: Sports where Olympic quotas are on offer
Not only medals, Indian athletes will also look to secure berths in the 2024 Paris Olympics through performances at the 19th Asian Games.
The upcoming 19th Asian Games, set to begin from September 23, 2023 in Hangzhou, China will be an important event with regards to next year's Paris Olympics for some sports. The continental event will act as an Olympic qualifier in some sports like archery, hockey and boxing, while Olympic qualification standards can also be breached in sports like athletics and swimming.
A total of 15 Indians have qualified for the 2024 Olympics so far, in athletics and shooting.
Here's a look at the other sports where more Asian quotas for the world's biggest show can be secured by Indians from September 23 to October 8.
The sport which potentially offers the most Olympic quota places at the Asian Games is boxing. According to the new qualification guidelines from IOC, the Asian Games will serve as a direct qualifier for the Olympics, with as many as 34 Asian boxers qualifying on the basis of results in Hangzhou.
There will be two quotas per category in men's boxing, which means that the gold and silver medallists will also book their 2024 Paris spots. The likes of Shiva Thapa, Nishant Dev and Deepak Bhoria will be eyeing these quotas.
In women's boxing, there will be four quotas on offer for every weight category except the 66kg and the 75kg ones. Indian hopes will be heavily invested on world champions Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain, while Asian champion Parveen Hooda will also be expected to win a quota.
"I think we will have three to four boxers who will qualify for the Olympics from the Asian Games,” India's boxing head coach CA Kuttappa told The Hindu earlier this year.
One other major individual sport which will offer Olympic quotas is recurve archery. There are quotas on offer for individual archers as well as the mixed team. There will not be quotas on offer for men's and women's teams, which will be decided at the Asian Championships in November,
The gold medal winner of the mixed recurve team event will get one quota at the Paris Olympics. Apart from this, two recurve archers per gender will book their spots, which means that the gold and silver medallists in the individual recurve archery events will qualify. Star archers like Dhiraj Bommadevara, Atanu Das and Bhajan Kaur will be aiming for these quotas on offer.
This is the second chance for Asian countries to book a spot at the Olympics after the World Championships last month, where recurve archers drew a blank despite a good show from the compound archers.
Sailing is also one of the sports which will offer direct places for the Olympics. There will be different number of quotas for different disciplines - few categories will offer only one quota place for the gold medallist, whereas few categories will offer quotas for all medallists.
India will be sending a 16-member sailing contingent to the Asian Games.
Possibly the sport where Olympic qualification is the primary agenda for the Indian teams, hockey will offer berths to the Olympics for the gold medal winners in both the men's and women's categories.
Ranked first in Asia, both the men's and women's teams are favourites to clinch the berths. The women's team, however, have not won a gold medal at the Asian Games since 1982. Japan will be the main threat for both the teams, even though Malaysia showed recently they can pack a punch too in men's hockey. In case the Indian teams cannot secure gold medals in hockey at the Asian Games, they will have to play Olympic qualification tournaments in Pakistan and Spain, which they would like to avoid.
In a late addition, one modern pentathlon athlete, Mayank Chaphekar, will be competing in Hangzhou. The fact that this is an Olympic qualifier would have aided his cause.
There are various other sports which do not have direct quota places on offer but players can get quotas by touching the qualification mark set by IOC - like in athletics and swimming - where the qualification period is ongoing.
For example, swimmer Srihari Nataraj (PB 53.77s) will be looking to breach the 100m backstroke qualification standard of 53.74 seconds. If he reaches this timing, he will qualify for the Olympics irrespective of his rank at the Asian Games.
Similarly, in athletics, Tajinder Toor (PB 21.77m) will look to breach the Olympic qualification standard of 21.50m. While Toor did create a new Asian record earlier this year, his 21.77m throw had been before the qualification period started. The likes of Jeswin Aldrin and Kishore Jena will also have an eye on the Olympic standards.
Other sports: Few other sports like water polo and breaking have direct quota places on offer, but India does not have any representation in these sports.