The Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) was established with a mission to be the home of India’s best current and future athletes. The impact of this vision was on display with the Indian contingent returning from Indonesia with their best-ever medal haul of 69 medals (15 Gold, 24 Silver, 30 Bronze).
IIS medallists at the Asian Games
- Neeraj Chopra – Men’s Javelin Throw – Gold
20-year old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an Asian Games Javelin gold, dominating the competition with a mammoth 88.06m throw, setting a new National Record on his way to the top of the podium. In the process, Neeraj became only the second Indian track and field athlete after the legendary Milkha Singh to win back-to-back Golds in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in the same year.
2. Sudha Singh
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase – Silver
The veteran middle-distance runner came up with a fine performance to win the silver in the women’s 3000m steeplechase event. Sudha, who has represented the nation at two Olympic Games, added to her Gold from the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou with her effort.
3. Neena Varakil
Women’s Long Jump – Silver
The 27-year old from Kerala pulled off a season-best effort of 6.51m in the finals to take the silver medal. The medal was a great comeback for Neena, who had missed out on a podium finish after qualifying for the finals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
4. Pincky Balhara
Women’s Kurash (-52kg) – Silver
Pincky picked up a silver medal for the nation in the Kurash event, which made its debut at the Asian Games this year. The versatile martial artist is an accomplished judoka and had narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Asian Games Judo team. With the result, she added to the Kurash bronze she had won at the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam in 2016.
5) Vikas Krishan Yadav
Boxing (75kg) – Bronze
Vikas became the first Indian boxer to win medals at 3 successive Asian Games following his Gold in the 2010 edition and Bronze in the 2014 Asian Games. Having stormed his way through the competition, Vikas suffered a setback as a cut to his eye suffered in competition meant he was deemed medically unfit to participate in his semi-final bout. As a result, Vikas won the bronze medal, to add to the Gold he won at the Commonwealth Games in April.
Apart from the stellar performances of IIS athletes, the institute also contributed to the success of many athletes who brought the country laurels at the Asian Games.
- Wrestling Gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, who suffered a horrific knee injury at the Rio Olympics in 2016, underwent surgery and subsequent rehabilitation with the help of the IIS team of physiotherapists and strength and conditioning experts on her road to recovery.
- Boxer Amit Panghal, who beat Olympic Champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan to win Gold in the men’s Light Fly-weight category, was with the Boxing Federation of India’s elite team, who were at IIS for a two-week conditioning camp as part of their Asian Games preparations.
- Tennis player Karman Kaur Thandi, who lost in the pre-quarters of the women’s singles and mixed doubles events to the eventual bronze medal winners, spent an extended period of time at IIS working on her fitness and conditioning earlier this year. Since then, she has won her maiden ITF singles title and broken into the Top-200 in the WTA rankings.
Following the successful run at the Asian Games, the IIS team is working hard to provide Indian athletes the necessary infrastructure, training and support to ensure India has even greater success at future championships.