The sports ministry has increased the Asian Games contingent by adding 17 more athletes, bringing the total to 651.
The Sports Ministry on Wednesday included names of 17 more athletes to India’s contingent for the Asian Games, with the list now swelling to 651 athletes. Also, for the first time Modern Pentathlon — an Olympic discipline — will have a representation from India at the Asiad. Mayank Vaibhav Chapheker was the sole athlete to be recommended for inclusion by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
The Modern Pentathlon Federation of India had sent names to five athletes but all of them had missed out when the sports ministry announced the contingent on August 24. However, the decision was reconsidered as Modern Pentathlon is an Olympic sport and the Asian Games are a qualifier for the Paris Olympics.
Apart from Mayank, who trains in Egypt and also competed in the World Cup, none of the athletes met the sports ministry’s eligibility criteria of 8th position/rank during the last one year in any of the competitions. Two athletes, including Mayank, had earlier moved Punjab and Haryana High Court after being left out of the contingent. The court had asked the SAI to take an expert view on the matter.
The biggest beneficiaries were martial art sports Ju-jitsu and kurash. In jiu-jitsu, five athletes were added, taking the squad strength to 11. Four athletes were added in kurash that took the tally from the sport to six. In shooting, skeet shooters Angad Veer Bajwa – who also competed in the Tokyo Olympics — Manisha Keer and Preeti Rajak were included.
Amlan Borgohain, the 200m sprinter, was the only new addition from athletics. Assam’s Borgohain, the national record holder in both men’s 100m and 200m races, had failed to meet the qualification standard in Federation Cup and the National Inter-State Championships but did well to win bronze at the World University Games in China that saw the Athletics Federation of India clear his name for Asian Games.
Besides, the cycling men’s pursuit team of four got the nod. There were also replacements named for athletes who had tested positive for dope. In swimming, Jhanvi Choudhary will take the place of the teenaged swimmer who tested positive for doping, while Suraj Yadav will replace Owais Sarwar, who also failed a dope test in wushu.
In women’s cricket, Pooja Vastrakar will replace the injured Anjana Sarvani. There were also five replacements in basketball teams, and two in women’s rugby team. There are eight replacements — five women and three men — in the basketball squad. The replacements include young Princepal Singh who has played in NBA G-League.
No cost to government
Also, two officials were cleared at ‘no cost to the government.’ Capt Jitendra Dixit from sailing was added as manager-cum-compliance officer and Samuel August was included as the eSports coach.