‘Unity in diversity’ could be India’s slogan. India is not only culturally diverse but also in many other aspects. Our country’s Asian games’ 2018 medallists range from an IIT alumni to a college dropout to a jobless gold winner, from a teenager to a golden ager to a champion athlete who was born with 12 toes.
In this year’s Asian Games, the Indian athletes ended the campaign by bringing home bacon with 69 medals – 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals. Our nation has surpassed its previous highest medal tally of 65 as a result of Indian athlete’s magnificent performances.
Swapna Barman was the first Indian to acquire a comfortable gold crown in heptathlon in Asian games. Bearing a soldier’s grit, she bagged gold whilst a heavily bandaged face and excruciating pain as she came down with a severe tooth ache a day before the competition. However, it seems as if her childhood problems became a conditioned stimulus and the toothache acted as a catalyst that motivated her further. That is why our nation’s prime minister congratulating her was not considered a stupefying act.
Another triumph was brought upon our nation by country’s oldest player, Rita Choksi, a 79-year-old bridge egghead. Where Choksi might be retired in any other contemporary job, she won a gold in the game bridge in the Asian Games 2018. She took upon herself in 1970 to represent India in international tournaments and have not let her country down since then.
Another bridge squad – Raju Tolani, Kiran Nadar, Bachiraju Satyanarayana and Hema Deora – bagged a bronze in the Asian games 2018. However, unlike others they fall under the category of being preeminent. Where Tolani is managing director of Switzerland based steel company, Satyanarayana is an IIT Delhi alumni. Then there is Nadar, wife of HCL founder and an ardent art collector, possessing a museum of 5,000 paintings and Deora, wife of late union minister and MP Murli Deora.
Monk-like prodigy, Saurabh Chaudhary, also known by the name of ‘Pistol King of Asia’, is the youngest Indian shooter to bag a gold medal in men’s 10m air pistol event in Asian games 2018. He performed with dexterity and precision when Tomoyuki Matsuda shot an 8.9 in his penultimate shot. Shooting, for him, was like a get away ticket for the son of sugarcane farmer.
The 22-year-old Odisha sprinter, Dutee Chand, was defamed and a question mark was put on her sexual identity when her hormone tests were put under the spotlight. She was not allowed to compete in 2014-15 due to hyperparathyroidism policy due to which she missed the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games. However, this didn’t deter her and she fought back as fiercely as she is seen in the ground. She made a powerful comeback in Asian games 2018 when she bagged a silver in 200m women’s dash.
They say India is not ready for sports but when we look into the statistics of the number of youngsters partaking sports, be it rags or riches, we can proudly say that India has the potential for sports and many more things to come.