The Asian Games or Asiad is a continental multisport event which is held every four years. It is considered to be the second largest multi disciplinary sports event on the planet after the Olympics.
But, do you know how and when did the Asian Games come into existence?
The idea of Asian Games was pitched by an Indian by the name of Guru Dutt Sodhi which led to the formation of Asian Athletic Federation which was followed by the establishment of Asian Games Federation in February 1949. During the establishment of Asian Games Federation, it was determined that the first ever Asian Games will be held in the year 1950 in India.
Even though it was concluded that the first ever Asian Games would be held in India during 1950, the organisers had to face a lot of issues. From funds to venues to anything you name, everything was in a mess.
During such testing time, who do you think came to the rescue of the organisers? The Indian Government? Nah!
It was rather the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and a man called Anthony de Mello who intervened and helped the organisers in conducting the tournament, albeit a year late in 1951.
Anthony de Mello (Source: Mid-day)
With the organisers under the pump for their failure to host the event, Anthony de Mello came in as a saviour. Anthony who is one of the founding members and the first President of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) came forward with the idea of hosting the games at the National Stadium in Delhi. What is to be noted is the fact that Anthony was the one who designed the National Stadium in 1933.
Anthony contacted two Mumbai based NGOs for the funds to organise the Asian Games. The National Sports Club of India (NSCI) helped Anthony with around INR 1 lakh while the CCI stepped in with a lump sum amount of money as well.
As if this wasn’t enough, Anthony even formed an 18 member committee to oversee the preparations for the first ever Asian Games.
The inaugural Asian Games is still the one with India’s finest overall performance. India finished second in the medal tally, only behind Japan in an event which saw participation from around 11 different Asian countries.
While Sachin Nag became India’s first gold medallist in the Asian Games when he bagged the gold medal in 100m freestyle swimming, India ended the tournament with a total of 15 gold medals – 10 in athletics, 2 gold medals in diving and a gold each in football and water polo.