Best ever medal haul: Anurag Thakur confident of Asian Games show

Union Sports minister says improved facilities can trigger country’s highest ever medal haul in Hangzhou Asiad

| Updated: 08 June, 2023 8:50 pm IST
Union Sports minister Anurag Thakur

NEW DELHI: Union Sports minister Anurag Thakur is confident that Indian athletes will achieve the country’s best-ever medal haul at the upcoming Asian Games.

The 19th Asian Games, originally scheduled for 2022, were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.

With a contingent of 600 athletes participating in various sports, compared to 570 in the previous edition and 541 in 2014, India is set to field one of its largest teams in the history of the Games.

Thakur attributed the potential success to the improved facilities provided by the government, which have led to record-breaking performances in recent international competitions.

“The improvement in facilities by the government has resulted in India’s best-ever performance at the last Olympics, Paralympics, Deaflympics, and Commonwealth Games,” he stated confidently.

“We won a record number of medals, and we will do similarly in the Asian Games. I think India will have the best-ever performance in the Asian Games,” he said after attending the Mission Olympic Cell’s (MOC) 100th meeting.

In the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang, India secured its highest medal tally with 69 medals, including 15 gold, 24 silver, and 30 bronze.

Thakur emphasised the government’s support for athletes, mentioning that over 350 proposals worth ₹45 crores from Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) athletes had been approved in this Olympic cycle.

“The government has allocated over ₹220 crores for the preparation of the Asian Games and has already invested ₹450 crores in training and equipment during the current Olympic cycle,” the Union Sports minister said.

Thakur expressed confidence that all associations would finalise their teams and trials ahead of the deadline. “With the deadline for final entries set for July 15, the selection trials for more than half of the Asian Games disciplines have already taken place, and the rest are scheduled to be completed by June 30,” he added.

Additionally, the government has revised the financial assistance to National Sports Federations with a budget of ₹1575 crores in the current Finance Commission cycle (2021-2025). To attract top talent for the management of athletes and research work under the TOPS scheme, the government has increased the salary structure for various positions by approximately 35 per cent.

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