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Asian Games

Bridge over generations: Wide age spectrum of Asian Games medalists

India's Asian Games medalists, ranging from teenagers to seasoned veterans, challenge the conventional boundaries of sporting success. Age proves to be no barrier in their remarkable sporting journeys.

Bridge over generations: Wide age spectrum of Asian Games medalists

Rajeshwar Tewari in action during the semifinal victory against China (AGNS)


Shourya Mehta

Updated: 12 Oct 2023 6:42 AM GMT

The emergence of young talents is a beacon of hope for the future of any sport. Winning medals in high-intensity tournaments not only guarantees a bright future but also dispels the notion that an athlete's prime is a brief chapter in their lives.

The recent Asian Games served as a testament to these ideals, with an astounding age gap of 50 years between the youngest and oldest Indian medalists.

The youngest medalist

At just 15 years of age, Sanjana Bathula, along with her teammates, secured a bronze medal in the women's 3000m roller skating relay, making her the youngest medalist in the nation.

The oldest medalist

Born on February 16, 1958, Jaggy Shivdasani, a bridge player, etched his name in history as the oldest Indian medalist at the Asian Games. His participation in the bridge team that clinched silver, with an impressive score of 152 points over six sessions, proved that peak sporting achievements can occur even later in life.

What makes these achievements even more remarkable is the full generation gap that separates the oldest, Jaggy Shivdasani, from the youngest medalists, Anahat Singh and Sanjana Bathula, who are both 15 years old with a minor age gap of 3 months.

The list of the youngest and the oldest medalists at the Asian Games includes a range of exceptional individuals:

•Alongside Jaggy Shivdasani, his bridge teammates are of similar age: Ajay Khare (64), Raju Tolani (62), Rajeshwar Tewari (60), Sandeep Thakral (49), and Sumit Mukherjee (49). This seasoned team made India proud in a relatively unknown sport seeking recognition. The inclusion of Bridge at the 2023 Asian Games marked its second appearance in the competition. India capitalized on this opportunity, upgrading to a silver medal. This win made Jaggy Shivdasani a two-time Asian Games medalist.

•Rohan Bopanna, the 43-year-old tennis ace, clinched a long-awaited gold in mixed doubles with Rutuja Bhosale. They defeated Chinese Taipei's Tsung-hao Huang and Liang En-shuo in a thrilling final.

•Seema Punia, the celebrated discus throw athlete at 40, continued her consistent performance by winning a bronze medal with a throw of 58.62m.

•Saurabh Chaudhary, who won the gold in the 10m Air Pistol at the 2018 Asian Games, became the youngest Indian gold medalist in Asian Games history. In the 2023 edition, Anahat Singh and Sanjana Bhatula, the young squash prodigy and roller skater, joined the ranks of the youngest medalists.

•Aditi Swami and Palak Gulia, both 17, showcased their talent in their Asian Games debut. Palak secured a gold medal in the women's 10m air pistol event and a silver in the women's team event. Aditi Swami achieved double success with a gold in the compound archery team event and a bronze in the individual compound archery event.

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