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Asian Games

Medals that stand out for sheer competitiveness at the Asian Games

Indian paddlers, archers, shuttlers and athletes prevailed against the Chinese, Koreans and adversities by showing sheer competitiveness and determination to win.

Medals that stand out for sheer competitiveness at the Asian Games

Ayhika and Sutirtha Mukherjee won India's maiden doubles medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 Oct 2023 7:09 AM GMT

Medals are won with skills, determination, temperament and a strong desire to succeed. Every athlete aspired to triumph at a marquee event like the Asian Games, but there are some medals that stood out for breaking the stereotypes and adversities where India is considered never good enough.

Here are a few of India's victories where the stakes were high, and the Indian athletes showed sheer competitiveness and determination to triumph under pressure.

Ayhik-Sutirtha beating the Chinese world champs

The Mukherjees of Naihati - Ayhika and Sutirtha - not only scripted history by becoming the first Indian women's doubles pair to win a medal at the Asian Games, but also added weight to it by taking down the reigning world champions - Cheng Meng and Yidi Wang of China - in front of a boisterous Chinese crowd.

Table tennis, which is arguably the number one sport in China given its popularity and the huge number of children playing the sport at the grassroots level, enjoys a proud place in China's sports hierarchy. Thus, when Ayhika and Sutirtha won the quarterfinal match against Meng and Wang 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9, the Chinese fans considered it a direct slap in their face.

Though Ayhika-Sutirtha could not advance to the final, their bronze medal was worth the weight of gold because of the sheer determination they showed to beat a higher-ranked Chinese pair in front of a buzzing crowd.

Satwik-Chirag winning gold

Indian badminton has made the country proud again, this time in a different style.

While the Indian men's team, the reigning Thomas Cup champion, was among the title favourites and returned home with a historic silver medal after going down against China in the final, it was the medal of HS Prannoy in men's singles, and the gold of medal of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in men's doubles captured the imagination of the nation.

While Prannoy battled with a heavily strapped back to win the country's historic bronze in 41 years, Chirag and Satwik had to fight with influenza and lack of recovery time to fulfil the much-awaited goal of winning the gold medal.

Satwik and Chirag clinch the badminton men's doubles gold medal.

Displaying brilliant application of their game plans and variations in strokes and placement - whether against Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in the semifinals or Choi Solgyu and Kim Winho in the final - the men's doubles duo clinched Indian badminton's maiden gold at the Asian Games.

That the medal came in doubles - which for many years was viewed as a discipline not worth considering in the Indian context - made the moment even sweeter.

Parul and Avinash prevail against adversities

While Neeraj Chopra has successfully defended his javelin throw gold medal, two athletes' achievements startled the nation the most.

Long-distance runner Parul Chaudhary, who has already won a silver medal in women's 3000m steeplechase, displayed tremendous tenacity, stamina and grit to win a gold medal in the women's 5000m at the Asian Games.

For the 28-year-old Uttar Pradesh athlete, the gold has the weight of a job as a DSP in the UP Police.

Parul Chaudhary won the women's 5000m gold medal.

Parul, who hailed from a middle-class family, has always yearned for a respectable job. Her silver and gold medal-winning performances are all set to fulfil her dream of getting the position of DSP in the police department.

Similarly, Avinash Sable, the men's 3000m steeplechaser who defied drought in her Maharashtra village to fulfil his dream of being an athlete, has finally tasted the success that he aspired for. After failing to qualify for the World Athletics Championships final, he was upset. Now that he won the Asian Games gold, it has finally come as a reaping reward for his strong willpower and desire to succeed.

Archers topple powerhouse Korea

The calm and composed demeanours of archers mingled with determination propelled India to a historic feat at the Asian Games.

Indian archers wrapped up the Games with their best-ever performance and staggering nine medals, including five gold medals and a clean sweep in all five compound archery events - both team and individual categories.

Ojas and Jyothi won three gold medals each.

With this outstanding performance, India also edged out powerhouse South Korea from the pole position, winning one more gold than the Koreans, completing their ascendency in the continental showpiece. Korea, who topped the archery medal tally for ten editions in a row, lost the lead for the first time.

Leading the pack from the front, Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Ojas Pravin Deotale notched up a hat-trick of gold medals.

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