Six from Assam in the hunt for medals at Jakarta Asian Games

As the action in Asian Games 2018 heats up, India will be looking to better their medal’s tally of 57 from the last time. This time, a 572-strong contingent carries a lot of hope for the Indians in the next fortnight with 312 men and 260 women, participating in 36 sports, trying to bring glory to our country.

In the Incheon Asiad in 2014, five players from Assam had made it to the Indian contingent – Jayanta Talukdar (archery), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Rekha Gogoi (taekwondo), Rajani Devi (wushu) and Kabita Devi (fencing). However, this time, six players have made it to the contingent. Here, we are looking at the profile of each one of them:

Hima Das (Athletics) – All eyes in Jakarta will be on Hima Das, the 18-year-old sprinter from Nagaon who took the nation by storm recently by becoming the first Indian to win a Gold medal in a track event at the World Junior Athletics Championship held in Tampere, Finland. She will be India’s gold contender in both 400 m and 200 m though in the latter category, she will have to compete with compatriot Dutee Chand. There will also be other challenges like Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser in 400 m category who is on a record breaking spree this year. However, it is unlikely that Hima will be perturbed by the challenges. As she had told Indian Express in a recent interview, the only thing she fears is time. “I am not running after gold medals, I am running after time” she had said. And if she can tame time in Jakarta, gold and glory will follow.

Shiva Thapa (Boxing) – Shiva Thapa, regarded as one of the best boxing talent from India had to grapple with his share of setbacks in recent times. He had lost in the first round of 2016 Rio Olympics against Cuban boxer Robeisy Ramirez. However, Thapa who have admitted to be being well prepared this time in a recent interview with Firstpost will be looking to better his performance of reaching the quarters in the 2014 edition of Asian games. Thapa, who made the record of becoming the youngest Indian to win gold at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship in 2013 will be looking to unleash the Mike Tyson inside him in the ring. And if that happens, celebrations will galore in the country along with the hills of Birubari.

Pramila Daimary (Archery) – Archer Pramila Daimary from Udalguri who had brought laurels to the nation by bagging the gold at the recurve event at the Asia Cup World Ranking Archery Event held in Bangkok earlier this year will be looking to hit the bull’s eye once again. 20 year old Pramila who hails from Dahlahabi village of Khagrabari near Bhergaon in Udalguri has a World Ranking of 15 currently. Daughter of shop keeper Abhi Ram Daimary and daily wage earner Renu Daimary, Pramila’s journey so far has been full of hardships. In a recent article on her published in ‘The Sentinel’, it was written that there is lack of adequate space in her home to display her trophies, medals and certificates. That won’t be stopping her though to try and bring another medal from Jakarta.

Ashmita Chaliha (Badminton) – Despite the presence of big names like Saina Nehwal and PV Sindu in the Indian women badminton team, there will be eyes on a 18 year old girl from Guwahati. Ashmita Chaliha, has already grabbed attention with her aggressive left handed play. Chaliha who trains under Indonesian coach Edwin Iriawan and India’s Suranjan Bhobora is quite confident about her chances. She knows being a lefty is an advantage for her and in an interview with EastMojo, she said, “There aren’t many lefties so when they’re pitted against one, they tend to get confused. Our forehand is supposed to be effective.” She might not be considered a medal contender this time, but she definitely has the capability of springing some surprises.

Kabita Devi (Fencing) – Thoudam Kabita Devi, who bagged gold medal in the senior national fencing championship held in Raipur, Chattisgarh recently will be looking to continue her good form in Asiad. Born in Lakhipur in Cachar district, Kabita known for her sharp right hand play will be someone to watch out for.

Rodali Baruah  (Taekwondo) – There will be much expectation from 22 year old Rodali Baruah, a black belt in Taekwondo who hails from the beautiful town of Tezpur. Actively pursuing the martial arts sports since a very young age, Rodali has brought laurels to the country by representing India in a number of Taekwondo Championships in the +73kg heavyweight category. She had shot to fame after bagging a bronze in the National Games. Her career high point was winning a gold medal at the 35th National Senior Kyorugi and 8th National Senior Pumche Taekwondo Championships held at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Rodali is a District Gold Champion with a ranking of 1, 17 and 86 in National, Asian and the World respectively. Now, Asian Games will give her the best platform to showcase her talent and we are sure that she will emerge with flying colours.

About Nabarun Guha


Nabarun Guha is a freelance journalist based in Guwahati


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