India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.
Record medal haul for India, athletics contingent
India registered its highest-ever medal haul at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, winning 70 medals across disciplines – 16 gold, 23 silver and 31 bronze. This was also India’s highest gold-medal tally at the Games, with athletics earning the country eight gold medals, nine silver and three bronze.
Tajinderpal wins shot put gold, sets Asian Games record
Shot put thrower Tajinderpal Singh Toor clinched the gold medal and set a new Games record with a throw of 20.75m at the 2018 Asian Games on August 25, 2018.
Tajinderpal began as the favourite and his opening effort of 19.96m was enough to give him the gold. But he did better in two more rounds, with his fifth throw of 20.75m breaking the Games record of Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Abdulmajeed (20.57m) set in 2010. That also saw him break Om Prakash Singh’s national mark (20.69m, 2012).
Gold medallist Tajinderpal Singh Toor on the podium after the men’s shot put event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 25, 2018. – REUTERS
Dutee bags silver in women’s 100m, 200m
Dutee Chand won the silver in the 200m dash on August 29, 2018 at the 2018 Asian Games and joined her illustrious compatriots such as PT Usha in the list of athletes who have won more than one medal in a single edition.
She crossed the finishing line in 23.20 seconds.
Three days earlier, on August 26, Dutee had clinched the silver in the women’s 100m to win the country’s first medal in 20 years in the event.
Dutee clocked 11.32 seconds, a tad below her then national record of 11.29 seconds. Dutee would go on to better her national record with a time of 11.17 seconds at the Indian Grand Prix 4 at Patiala in 2021.
The sprinter from Odisha was taking part in her first Asian Games as she missed the 2014 Asian and Commonwealth Games owing to a ban in 2014-15 under the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy.
She later fought and won a case against this policy at the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
Dutee Chand (second right) runs to the finish line in the women’s 200m semifinal during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 28, 2018. – AP
Dharun takes silver in men’s 400m hurdles
Athletics continued to swell India’s medal tally at the 2018 Asian Games as Dharun Ayyasamy clinched the silver in men’s 400m hurdles in national record time on August 27, 2018.
Ayyasamy clocked 48.96 seconds to shatter his own national record (49.45s).
It was India’s first medal in the event since Joseph Abraham won a gold in 2010.
Ayyasamy would better his national record with a timing of 48.80s at the Federation Cup on March 16, 2019.
Manjit upstages Jinson for men’s 800m gold
Manjit Singh upstaged pre-race favourite and compatriot Jinson Johson to win gold in the men’s 800m event in a 1-2 finish for India on August 28, 2018 at the Asian Games.
The then 28-year-old ran his personal best time of 1:46.15 seconds to win his first major international medal.
Jinson, who smashed legendary Sriram Singh’s 42-year-old 800m national record in June during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in 2018, finished second in 1:46.35 seconds. He holds the national record with a time of 1:45.65 seconds.
Gold medallist Manjit Singh (left) and silver medallist Jinson Johnson during the medal ceremony at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang on August 28, 2018. – PTI
Jinson settles scores with gold in 1500m event
Jinson Johnson claimed the gold medal in the men’s 1500m event at the 2018 Asian Games on August 30, 2018. Manjit Singh, the 800m champion two days earlier, finished fourth with a timing of 3:46.57s. Johnson clocked 3:44.72s to claim the top honours.
The Kerala runner set the 1500m national record a year later on September 1 2019 at the ISTAF Berlin event, clocking 3:35.24s for the silver and bettering his own NR of 3:37.62s.
Neeraj becomes first Indian to win javelin gold
Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian javelin-thrower to win an Asian Games gold medal as he shattered his own national record (87.43m) by clearing a distance of 88.06m on August 27, 2018.
Chopra’s gold is only the second medal India has won in javelin throw at the Asian Games after Gurtej Singh won the bronze in 1982 in New Delhi.
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The then 20-year-old’s winning throw came in his third attempt. He began with 83.46m and fouled the second attempt.
Chopra, who scripted history by giving independent India its first athletics medal at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020, set a new national record at the Paavo Nurmi Games this month with a throw of 89.30m.
A 20-year-old Neeraj Chopra during the men’s javelin throw event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 27, 2018. – PTI
Arpinder leaps to triple jump gold
Arpinder Singh clinched India’s first men’s triple jump gold in 48 years at the 2018 Asian Games on August 29, 2018.
He produced his best jump of 16.77 in his third attempt, well below his personal best of 17.17m achieved at the 2014 National Inter-State Championships in Lucknow.
India’s last Asian Games gold medalist in men’s triple jump was Mohinder Singh Gill in 1970.
Swapna – India’s first heptathlon champion at Asian Games
Swapna Barman created history by becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold on August 29, 2018.
Barman, born with six toes on each foot, achieved the feat despite a toothache. The then 21-year-old logged 6026 points from the seven events competed over two days.
En route to the title, she won the high jump (1003 points) and javelin throw (872 points) events and finished second-best in shot put (707 points) and long jump (865 points). Her weakest events were 100m (981 points, 5th position) and 200m in which she finished seventh with 790 points. She finished fourth in the 800m run – the last of the seven-event competition.
Gold medallist Swapna Barman celebrates during the medal ceremony for the women’s heptathlon at the 2018 Asian Games on August 30, 2018 in Jakarta. – GETTY IMAGES
Fifth consecutive gold for women’s 4x400m relay team
India’s 4x400m women’s relay team clinched its fifth consecutive gold medal at the Asian Games on August 30, 2018.
The women’s quartet of Hima Das, M.R. Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and Vismaya Velluva Koroth clocked 3 minutes and 28.72 seconds to claim the gold.
Bahrain (3:30.61s) and Vietnam (3:33.23s) took the silver and bronze, respectively.
India has been bagging the top honour in the event since the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.
Mixed relay team’s 4x400m silver upgraded to gold
The Indian 4×400 mixed relay team had won the silver at the 2018 Asian Games on August 30, 2018, but the medal was later upgraded to gold in July 2020 after Bahrain was disqualified with Kemi Adekoya being handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit for failing a dope test.
The quartet of Mohammed Anas, M.R. Poovamma, Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv had finished second behind Bahrain with a timing of 3:15.7s in the event, which was introduced at the 2018 Games.