Indian stars who stumbled on injury, ineligibility hurdle ahead of Hangzhou Games

New Delhi, Sep 21 (PTI) Hundreds of Indian athletes will strive set to write tales of glory in the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games but a few stars will have to go through the disappointment of watching all the action from afar.

A combination of injuries and eligibility technicalities have resulted in their absence in Asia’s biggest sporting event.

The depth of their pain will be even deeper because they had etched their own stories of triumph for India during the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018 or in other top-flight competitions like the Olympics or World Championships.

So, here we look at some of those less fortunate ones, who will have to wait for their moment under the light.

Vinesh Phogat, who had won the gold in the last edition of the Asian Games in 50 kg freestyle wrestling, could have added a medal to India’s tally in China too.

In fact, the 29-year-old, who was at the forefront of wrestlers’ protest against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh recently, had gained a direct entry into the latest sequel of the Asiad.

But a knee injury that she sustained while training forced her to undergo surgery in August, enough to end her Asian Games dreams.

Ravi Dahiya, an Olympic silver medal winner in the 57 kg category in Tokyo, might have been gunning for his maiden Asian Games medal.

But the 25-year-old grappler will not compete in Hangzhou after losing to Atish Todkar in the first round of the national trials in July. He is also recovering from a knee injury at the moment.

Talismanic women’s hockey player Rani Rampal will be a big miss in Hangzhou.

Rampal was the leader of the Indian women’s team when they returned with a silver from the 2018 Games.

But the prolific striker will not be a part of the Indian team four years later when they search for a gold. Instead, Rampal will be tutoring the Indian U17 side.

Another prominent name who will miss the action in Hangzhou will be sprinter Hima Das.

The 23-year-old was a part of India’s 4x400M relay team, also comprising M.R. Poovamma, V.K. Vismaya and Sarita Gayakwad, which won a historic gold at Jakarta.

In the 2018 Games, she had also won the silver in the 400M race.

But a hamstring injury that she suffered in April this year ended her hopes of travelling to the Asian Games.

In recent years, boxers have emerged as genuine medal contenders for India in international competitions.

Amit Panghal, a World Championship silver medallist, is a premier name among the pugilists.

The 27-year-old had won a gold in the 49kg category in Jakarta and expecting another top performance from him was not unrealistic.

But as it turned out, Panghal did not even qualify for the Hangzhou event. He fared poorly in the selection trials and Deepak Bhoria found a place in the Indian boxing contingent.

Panghal took the legal route and approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, alleging bias in the selection process. But the court summarily dismissed his petition.

In shooting also, India have become a force to reckon with in top level tournaments globally.

At Hangzhou, top shooters such as Manu Bhaker (Sports Pistol) and Rudrankksh Patil (Air Rifle) will lead India’s medal quest.

However, Sourabh Choudhary will not be defending his 10m Air Pistol gold in the swanky Chinese city.

In fact, 2023 was a year of disappointments for the 21-year-old.

He finished eighth in the six-round national selection trials for the Asian Games, and failed to earn a ticket to Hangzhou.

Additionally, Saurabh, who was the youngest Indian marksman to win an Asian Games gold, was also not part of the Indian team that contested in the ISSF World Championships at Baku in August.

But with age on his side, Saurabh will be hoping to make amends for these slip-ups and come back stronger.

Equestrian is still viewed as an elite sporting event in India.

But from Jakarta, Fouaad Mirza brought home rare silver medals in Jumping – individual and the team events.

But the 31-year-old Bengaluru man will not wear India jersey in this Asian Games, after non-selection by the Equestrian Federation of India for not meeting the eligibility requirements.

Some other big names such as gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth in Rio Olympics, former world No.1 archer Deepika Kumari have also stumbled on the eligibility hurdle.

Source: PTI News


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