The 2023 Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8 this year.
Here are the top 10 non-Indian athletes to watch in the continental event:
Arshad Nadeem (Men’s Javelin Throw)
Arshad Nadeem is a 26-year-old javelin thrower from Pakistan. He created history by becoming the first Pakistani athlete to qualify for an athletics final during the Tokyo Olympics.
Nadeem won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year with a throw of 90.18m, making him the first South Asian athlete to break the 90m mark.
This season he won his country’s first medal at the World Championships in Budapest: silver. Nadeem will look to improve on his performance at the 2018 Asian Games, where he could only get a bronze.
Mutaz Barshim (men’s high jump)
Mutaz Essa Barshim is a 32-year-old high jumper from Doha, Qatar. He is a three-time world champion, two-time Asian Games gold medalist, the reigning Olympic champion and the second highest jumper of all time with a personal best of 2.43m.
Barshim, 6’5” tall, uses the Fosbury Flop technique. This season he finished with a bronze medal at the World Championships in Budapest.
An Se-young (Badminton – Women’s Singles)
An Se-young is a 21-year-old badminton player from South Korea. She is the highest ranked player in the world and the current world champion. Ahead of the Asian Games, she is the fittest player in women’s singles.
This season, she has competed in 12 competitions, winning nine of them and finishing runner-up in the other three.
In Jakarta five years ago, An had lost in the first round, but this time she is the favorite for the gold medal in Asiad.
Qin Haiyang (Swimming)
Qin Haiyang is a 22-year-old Chinese swimmer. Five years ago, he could only win a bronze in the men’s 200m breaststroke.
This time, he enters the continental event as the first man in history to win gold in all three breaststroke events in a single edition of the World Championships, setting new Asian records for each event, as well as becoming the current world record holder. in the 200 meters. .
Ma Long (table tennis)
Ma Long is a 34-year-old Chinese table tennis player. She is considered one of the greatest table tennis players of all time and is nicknamed “The Dragon”.
Ma has five gold medals in the Olympic Games, nine in World Cups, 13 in World Championships and six medals, including five gold in the Asian Games in all categories.
Ma will be in action in the men’s team event in Hangzhou.
Du Linshu (shot)
Du Linshu is a 20-year-old Chinese shooter.
Du rose to prominence when he won five gold and two silver medals at the World Junior Championships in Cairo, Egypt, in 2022.
This season, he made his senior debut at the ISSF World Cup in Bhopal and bagged a gold medal in the 50m rifle 3 position event and bagged silver in the 10m air rifle category.
Ding Liren (chess)
Chess returns to the Asian Games after a gap of 13 years.
The Chinese team in the continental event will be led by Ding Liren. Ding, 30, is the highest-rated Chinese chess player in history.
At the 2023 World Championships, he defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi in tiebreakers to become his country’s first men’s world champion.
Mohammadreza Shadloui (Kabaddi)
Mohammadreza Shadloui is a 23-year-old Iranian Kabaddi player. Shadloui, an imperious left cornerback, won the gold medal for Iran at the World Youth Kabaddi Championships in 2019.
He made his debut in the Pro Kabaddi League in 2022, scoring 89 tackle points to top the defenders’ tally. He followed up with 84 points last season.
Shadloui could play an important role in Iran’s successful defense of its gold medal won five years ago in Jakarta.
Akari Fujinami (wrestling)
Akari Fujinami is a 19-year-old Japanese freestyle wrestler.
Fujinami is a very dominant wrestler and has not lost a fight since a loss at the National High School Championships in 2017.
She won gold in the women’s 53 kg event at the 2021 World Championships held in Oslo, Norway. She also triumphed at the 2022 Asian Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
This season, she won the gold medal in the women’s 55kg event at the 2023 Dan Kolov & Nikola Petrov Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Jiang Huihua (weightlifting)
Jiang Huihua is a 25-year-old Chinese weightlifter who competes in the women’s 49kg category.
Jiang is a four-time world champion.
She destroyed Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Mirabai Chanu’s clean-and-jerk world record by lifting 120kg at the World Championships in Riyadh earlier this month. She also created a new world record for the total lift by lifting 215 kg, two kilograms better than the previous world mark (213 kg), which was held by her compatriot and current Olympic champion Hou Zhihui.