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HomeSportThe Haryana-Kerala domination of Indian sport is complete, this Asiad shows

The Haryana-Kerala domination of Indian sport is complete, this Asiad shows

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Trio of the newest female stars — Dutee Chand, Hima Das and Swapna Barman — has emerged from India’s east-by-northeast.

India’s pride, the 524-member squad for the just concluded 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, is on its way home, along with the country’s largest-ever medal haul.

As many as 69 medals were won — 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze — with the gold medals matching the haul as far back as the 1951 Games, the first after Independence.

Now’s not the time to question why China, whose economy is about five times larger than India’s, has topped the charts with 132 golds, nine times as many India won (China’s total medal haul is 289), or why the Japanese have come second with 75 golds (total 205) or why even Indonesia won 31 golds (although Malaysia and Singapore accused Indonesia of cheating in the Pencak Silat martial arts by winning 14 out of 16 golds in this sport).

After all, with 524 Indian athletes participating in the Games, one in almost 7 athletes has won a medal.

Also read: Indians have won six Asiad medals for wushu and kurash. But what are they?

Today, let’s glory in what we’ve won. Let us celebrate Neeraj Chopra’s incredible javelin throw, which, at 88.06 m, won him the gold. How Manjit Singh, the man ONGC dropped because of his continuously lacklustre performances, came back to win the 800m men’s final, putting favourite Jinson Johnson in the shade. How Johnson went on to win the 1,500m, another amazing feat. How Swapna Barman overcame all 12 toes to win the heptathlon and mark up a national dream. How Arpinder Singh smashed a 48-year-old record in the triple jump.

As for the women’s quartet of the 4X400 women’s relay, there’s no better advertisement for Mera Bharat Mahan. Hima Das is from Assam, M.R. Poovamma is from Karnataka, although she speaks Malayalam, Sarita Gayakwad is from Gujarat and Vismaya Velluva Koroth is from Kerala.

As ESPN told the story, Vismaya was the weakest link in the 4X400 m quartet, but coach Galina Bukharina was firm she would run the final lap against the Bahreini Asian queen sprinter Salwa eid Naser. “My heart was going dhad dhad,” Vismaya said later.

Poovamma said, “I could see that she was nervous. I just yelled at her in Malayalam. Race yeduthu wodu (Take the race and run).”

So as we welcome our incredible athletes home, let’s map their journey and see what states they are from, indeed, what kinds of sports various states like to play. Certain patterns are evident:

  1. The Haryana-Kerala combine continues to smash the north-south divide in their domination of Indian sport. Haryana topped the individual medal tally with 12 medals, while Kerala came second with 7 medals.
  2. If you extend the Haryana sporting region (12 medals) a bit north to Punjab (3 medals) and a bit south to Delhi (6 medals), the medal tally goes up to 21 medals.

Similarly, if you extend Kerala (7 medals) a bit east to Tamil Nadu (5 medals) and Karnataka (2 medals), you end up with 14 individual medals.

That’s 35 medals, just more than half the total tally of 69 medals won by the Indian contingent this Asiad.

  1. The Haryana-Punjab-Delhi region mostly focuses on contact sports such as wrestling (Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Divya Kakran, Pincky Balhara, among others), boxing (Amit Panghal, Vikas Krishan), field sports such as javelin (Neeraj Chopra), discus (Seema Punia), shot put (Tejinder Pal Singh Toor) and shooting (Lakshay Sheoran, Sanjeev Rajput, Deepak Kumar, among others).

There are very few runners in north India — Manjit Singh (800m) is the exception, while Arpinder Singh (triple jump) is the only jumper.

In Kerala, however, the reverse is true. All the medallists are runners, in the P.T. Usha tradition.

Mohammed Anas Yahiya (400m), Jinson Johnson (1500m), Chitra Unnikrishnan (1,500m), Muhammed Puthanpurakkal (4X400), Vismaya Velluva Koroth (4X400), Poovamma Machettira (4X400).

Like P.T. Usha, Neena Varakil is a long jumper. She won the silver medal.

  1. There’s a new arc of track & field athletes and it connects the east-by-northeast:

From Hima Das in Kandhulimari village in Dhing district of Nagaon, Assam, to Swapna Barman from Denguajhar village, near Jalpaiguri in north Bengal, to Dutee Chand from Chaka Gopalpur village in Jajpur district, Odisha, India’s newest stars are from the deep interior of the country.

Hima Das’s father is a farmer; Swapna Barman’s father is a rickshaw-puller, while Dutee’s parents are weavers. Their stories are already the stuff of legends.

Also read: Obsession with Asian Games’ medal tally shows India’s breathtaking apathy towards sports

India’s medal-winners

With a tally of 12, Haryana tops the list of the medal-winning athletes, They are:

Bajrang Punia (wrestling), Lakshay Sheoran (shooting, silver), Vinesh Phogat (wrestling, gold), Saurabh Chaudhary (10m pistol, gold), Abhishek Varma (10m pistol, bronze), Sanjeev Rajput (50m pistol), Manjt Singh (800m, gold), Neeraj Chopra (javelin, gold), Saina Nehwal (badminton, bronze), Amit Panghal (boxing flyweight 49kg, gold), Seema Punia (discus, bronze) Vikas Krishan (boxing, bronze).

Team: Narender Grewal (wushu), Dushyant Chauhan (rowing)

With 7 medals, Kerala comes second. These include the athletes who participated in the 4X400 m award-winning quartets:

Mohammed Anas Yahiya (400m, silver), Neena Varakil (long jump, silver), Jinson Johnson (1500m gold), Chitra Unnikrishnan (1500m, bronze), Muhammed Puthanpurakkal (4X400), Vismaya Velluva Koroth (4X400), Poovamma Machettira (4X400).

Delhi comes third with 6 medals:

Deepak Kumar (10m shooting, silver), Divya Kakran (wrestler, bronze), Santosh Kumar (wushu), Divij Sharan (tennis), Pincky Balhara (kurash), Manika Batra (table-tennis).

Tamil Nadu comes fourth with 5 individual medals and 6 team medals. They are:

Prajnesh Gunneswaran (tennis, singles), Dipika Pallikal Karthik (squash), Joshna Chinappa (squash), Dharun Ayyasamy (400m hurdles, silver), Rajiv Arokia (4X400m).

Team: G. Sathiyan, Achanta Sharath Kamal, A. Amalraj (table tennis), Varsha Gautam (sailing, silver), Varun Ashok Thakkar, K. Chengappa Ganapathy (sailing, bronze).

Punjab won 3 individual medals and 3 team medals:

Arpinder Singh (triple jump), Tejinder Pal Singh Toor (shot put), Heena Sidhu (shooting, bronze).

Team: Bhagwan Singh (rowing, bronze), Sawarn Singh & Sukhmeet Singh (quadruple sculls, gold).

Maharashtra won 3 medals in all:

Rahi Sarnobat (25 m air pistol, gold).

Team: Dattu Baban Bhokanal (rowing), Mahesh Mangaonkar (squash), Shwetha Shirvegar (sailing).

So did West Bengal: Swapna Barman (heptathlon, gold).

Team: Ramit Tandon (squash), Saurav Ghoshal (squash), Pranab Bardhan, Shibnath Sarkar (Bridge).

And so did Uttar Pradesh: Ravi Kumar (10 m pistol, silver), Shardul Vihan (silver, double trap, Meerut), Sudha Singh (3000 m steeplechase, silver)

While Karnataka — Malaprabha Jadhav (Kurash), Fouad Mirza (equestrian, individual jumping, silver), Gujarat (Ankita Raina, tennis, Saritaben Gayakwad (4X400) and Rajasthan (Om Prakash, men’s quadruple sculls, Apurvi Chandela (10 m bronze, shooting) won two medals each.

The single medal-winning states are:

Naorem Roshibini Devi (wushu, Manipur), Dutee Chand (100m, 200m, Odisha), Hima Das (400m, 4X400m, Assam), P.V. Sindhu (badminton, Telangana), Achanta Sharath Kamal (table-tennis, Andhra Pradesh), Surya Bhanu Pratap Singh (wushu, Jammu & Kashmir), Harshita Tomar (sailing, Madhya Pradesh)

Also read: Two silvers at the Asiad is great, but equestrian needs a lot of change to grow

Team events

Squash team (women) 

Joshna Chinappa: Tamil Nadu

Dipika Pallikal Karthik: Tamil Nadu

Sunayna Kuruvilla: Kerala

Tanvi Khanna: Delhi

Squash team (men)

Saurav Ghosal: West Bengal

Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu: Chandigarh

Ramit Tandon: West Bengal

Mahesh Mangaonkar: Maharashtra

Men’s team table tennis

Sathiyan: Tamil Nadu

Achanta Sharath Kamal: Tamil Nadu

Amalraj: Tamil Nadu

Archery men’s compound team 

Abhishek Verma: Delhi

Aman Saini: Delhi

Rajat Chauhan: Rajasthan

Archery women’s compund team

Muskan Kirar: Madhya Pradesh

Madhumita Kumari: Jharkhand

Jyothi Surekha Vennam: Andhra Pradesh

Mixed team — bridge

Kiran Nadar, Hema Deora, Himani Khandelwal, Bachiraju Satyanarayana, Gopinath Manna, Rajeev Khandelwal.

Men’s team — bridge

Jaggy Shivdasani, Rajeshwar Tewari, Ajay Khare, Raju Tolani, Debabrata Majumder, Sumit Mukherjee.


Ashish Malik: Haryana

Rakesh Kumar: Uttar Pradesh

Jitender Singh: Rajasthan

Fouaad Mirza: Karnataka

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  1. Please do not use the word “Bharat”

    Dubious “Origins” of Bharat

    Is the Hindoo Land,which is “named as Bharat”, so named ,after “Bharat the son of Dushyant “and the “son of a harlot” ? Who knows ? Let us Cogitate ! “Sum Fallor Est “- For Augustine,the Manichean,from Tagaste. dindooohindoo

    As per Dushyant, the father of Bharat – “Bharat’s mother (Shakuntala) was a Harlot” , his “grandmother (Menaka) was a harlot” and his “Nana (Vishwamitra) was a pimp”.(This is in the vedas and the Puranas)

    Bharat’s Mother was “abandoned at birth” (just like Sita), by “both her parents”and Bharat the Limpet, was “abandoned by his father” for the 1st 15 years, of his life (This is in the vedas and the Puranas)

    Bharat,son of Dushyant,had “a peculiar problem” – he had “3 wives and nine sons” – and “none of the nine”, looked like him ! Mamma Mia ! So they were all killed ! “El Classico Limpdickio” !

    So what did Bharat the Limpet do ? He “adopted” a “Limpet”, called “Bharadwaj” ! Who was this clown ?

    One Day, Mr.Brahaspati, “copulated with the pregnant wife” (named as Mamta) of his limpet brother.

    It is said that , the boy in the womb said – “dont copulate with Mommy Mamta” – but Mr.Brhaspati ,”did not give a cahoot”.

    The son ,so born, was “discarded at birth” and adopted by Mr. Bharat

    What is the problem with Hindooism ?

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