India's performance in the Asian Games 2018, which ended on the September 2, was indeed historic. With 69 medals – 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze – India put up a strong show by finishing eighth in the medals tally. This was India's best-ever medal haul at the Asian Games, their previous best being 65 medals at Guangzhou in China in 2010.
With the tournament now done, it is time to assess and look at some of the key takeaways for the Indian contingent's performance at the Asiad this year – the hits and the misses that made the news.
The Indian athletics contingent at the Asiad 2018 put up a superlative performance. With 19 medals in the segment – 7 Gold, 10 Silver and 2 Bronze – India put up its best-ever show in track and field since 1978.
Neeraj Chopra's gold in the Javelin throw, Swapna Barman's heptathlon gold, Dutee Chand's silver in 100m and the gold by Indian women's team in the 4x400m relay were the big highlights for India in the field.
With 2 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze, India put up a very good show in shooting at the Asian Games. In fact, before athletics took over, it was shooting which brought India the medals in Asiad 2018.
The quartet of Sawarn Singh, Bhakanal Dattu Baban, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh clinched India its second-ever Asian Games gold medal in rowing. The team came first in the final of the men's quadruple sculls event by clocking 6:17.13.
Unexpected bronze in Sepak Takraw:
Not many in India even know the sport of Sepak Takraw. Native to Southeast Asia, it is basically kick volleyball and requires immense flexibility and fitness. India put up a surprising show as the 12-member men's team won the bronze medal in the Regu category.
For the first time in Asian Games history, India managed a medal in Table Tennis with veteran paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal winning bronze in the men's team and also helping achieve another bronze in the mixed doubles.
In a massive disappointment, India failed to win gold in Kabaddi for the first time since the sport was introduced in the Asian Games. The men's team was thwarted by Iran in the semi-finals by Iran and the women's team suffered a defeat in the finals, also by Iran. India has dominated the sport comprehensively for decades and this defeat will be hard to swallow.
While both the men's and women's Indian hockey teams had a superb run throughout the tournament, they faltered when it mattered the most. The men's team lost to Malaysia in the semis and the women's team went down 1-2 to Japan in the final. A gold had looked assured at one point in Hockey this time and hence the result is disappointing.
Despite Vinesh Phogat's historic gold at the Asian games this year, the wrestling contingent disappointed overall for India. A lot was expected from the heavyweights of Indian wrestling, but they disappointed. Sushil Kumar was eliminated from the very first round and Sakshi Malik, the Olympic bronze medallist, failed to secure even a bronze.
India had a star-studded line up in badminton this year comprising the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy and K Srikanth. But only two bronze medals were achieved in the sport. Given the popularity badminton has managed to achieve in the country in the last few years, a lot more was expected.
Another huge disappointment for India at the Asian Games this year was weightlifting where they failed to secure any medal. With 9 medals at the Commonwealth Games 2018, including 5 gold, Indian weightlifters at the Asiad were anticipated to much better.