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Asian Games, India and the rest of SAARC


Avijit Ghosh

India harvested a record 69 Medals – 15 gold, 24 silver, 30 bronze – at the just-concluded 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. But how exactly did our SAARC neighbours fare?

Sri Lanka: Once the island nation used to produce world-class women sprinters like Damayanthi Dharsha (three gold medals in 200m and 400m) and Susanthika Jayasinghe (one gold in 100m). Incidentally, Susanthika also won a silver in 200m at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. But these are hard times for Lankan sport. Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) has participated in every edition since Asian Games began in 1951. The contingent returned without a medal for the first time. The country’s downward spiral in athletics was evident in 2014 Incheon, when its two medals came in cricket (men, gold; women, bronze). Cricket was dropped from the Asian Games menu in Jakarta.

Pakistan: Pakistan did not participate in the first Asian Games at New Delhi, 1951. But made its debut with a bang at Manila in 1954. Pakistan swept the men’s sprints winning 100m, 200m and 400m and claiming five gold, six silver and two bronze. The country finished fourth in the medal tally, a rank better than India’s fifth. Eight years later in 1962 Jakarta, Pakistan again ended an overall fourth with eight gold and a total of 28 medals. It has been downhill since, especially in the last few Games. In 2018, Pakistan earned only four bronze medals and finished fourth in the men’s hockey. This was only the second time after 2002 that the team had failed to win a medal in the event. Pakistan dominated men’s hockey in their prime winning it a record eight times. Their Final position in the 2018 medal’s tally was 34, its worst-ever.

Nepal: A second spot in cross-country paragliding provided the lone silver lining for the Himalayan country at the 2018 Jakarta Games. Nepal’s highest haul came in 1998 Bangkok: one silver and three bronze

Maldives: Maldives has been participating in Asian Games since 1990. The picture postcard country hasn’t won a medal. Ever.

Bhutan: Bhutan has participated in nine Asian Games and yet to stand on the medal’s podium. There was a near miss though in Bangkok 1998 when the men’s archery team lost a face-off for bronze against China.

Bangladesh: After earning independence in 1971, Bangladesh started competing in the Asian Games from 1978 onwards. Since then, it has won a total 12 medals, including 1 gold. Seven of these medals have gone to kabaddi (both men and women teams) and four to cricket (both men and women). In 2010 Guangzhou, the men’s cricket side won the country’s lone gold. In 2018, the contingent failed to open its account. They had a highlight moment though when the football team overcame Qatar 1-0 in a group game.

Afghanistan: One of the founding member-countries of the Asian Games, Afghanistan’s appearances have been occasionally interrupted by war. After 14 visits, the strife-torn country has grabbed a combined 13 medals: five silver and eight bronze. Two of those- one for wushu and one for korash– came in Jakarta 2018. A medal made of the yellow metal, though, continues to elude Afghanistan.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.



via TOI Blog

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