New sports which will be seen at Asian Games 2023
Asian Games 2023: Two new sports - breaking and e-sports - will be introduced and two new sports - cricket and chess - will be returning to the Asian Games programme in Hangzhou.
The Asian Games, the biggest multi-sports events after the Olympics, have featured a total of 54 sports since the first edition in 1951. Two new sports - breaking and e-sports - will be introduced to the Asian Games programme at the 19th edition set to begin in Hangzhou, China from September 23, to take this total number to 56.
Two other sports will be returning to the Asian Games programme after a break. Cricket, which was played in 2010 and 2014, returns in China. As does Chess, which featured previously in 2006 and 2010.
Sports that will be missing - Paragliding, Pencak silat and Sambo are the three sports from the 2018 Asian Games which will not feature this year. Bodybuilding (2002–2006), Cue sports (1998–2010) and Dance sport (2010) are the other sports which were once medal events at the Asian Games.
At the 2023 Asian Games, there are a total of 40 sports and 61 disciplines. Here's looking at the four among the 40 which were not there at the 2018 Games:
Breaking, or breakdancing, is making its debut at the Paris Olympics 2024. Before that, we will get to see Asians trying their hand in this comparatively new sport as it makes its debut in this year's Asian Games. This sport will have 2 events - the Men's individual and the Women's individual.
This sport was recently seen at the European Games, where Netherlands and France took one gold each. Although india is not participating in this event, it will be a very unique and entertaining sport to watch out for. On the medals tally, there could be a fierce competition between Asian giants China and Japan and a few challengers like Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.
Cricket (Returning, 2 previous appearances)
India's most popular sport is now making its way towards multi-sporting tournaments. There will be two medal events - the Men's team competition and the Women's team competition. This is not the official debut for cricket, but India's participation, after skipping the 2010 and 2014 editions, makes this edition's cricket event the biggest till now.
India are the overwhelming favourites for taking both golds in men's cricket and women's cricket. The Indian men's team are the Asian champions in the T20I format while the women's team are three-time Asian champions.
Chess (Returning, 2 previous appearances)
Chess is also returning to the Asian Games for the first time after 2010, the last time the Games were held in China. There will be four events for chess at the 2023 Asian Games - the Men's individual rapid, Women's individual rapid, Men's team rapid and Women's team rapid.
China and india are the two strongest chess-playing countries in Asia, with some competition from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the ASEAN countries. The current world champion, Ling Diren of China, will be one of the favourites to take gold, alongside the Indian players Vidit Gujrathi, D Gukesh, Arjun Erigaisi and recently World Cup silver medalist Pragganandhaa.
The women's rapid event will also be a fierce battle between India, China and Kazakhstan as all the three medalist at last year's World Rapid Championships were from these countries.
E-sports, one of the most popular sports among the youth, will be given pride of place as a medal sport at the 2023 Asian Games. It was played as a demonstration sport in 2018.
Esports will offer 7 medals in League of Legends, Arena of Valor (Asian Games Version), Game for Peace (Asian Games Version), Dota, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Street Fighter 5, and FIFA Online 4.
India will be taking part in four of these seven titles. The best chance for a medal could be in FIFA as India is currently ranked 13th in the world and third in Asia just behind Singapore and Saudi Arabia.