Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was on Friday named the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the Asian Games opening ceremony slated to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 18.
The announcement was made by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra during the send-off ceremony of the Indian contingent in New Delhi.
Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Chopra’s name had been doing the rounds for the honour after his success at numerous tournaments both in India and abroad. The 20-year-old javelin thrower, who rose to prominence after winning the Junior World Championship in 2016, set a national record with an 87.43m throw at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha.
His throw at the competition shattered the national record he had set at the Commonwealth Games, with an 86.43m. Earlier into the season, he had covered a distance of 85.94m at the Federation Cup in Patiala, which also was a national record at that time.
In the build-up to the Asian Games, Chopra also won the gold at the Savo Games in France.
No Indian javelin thrower has ever won a gold at the Asian Games and Neeraj Chopra looks all set to break that deadlock. Last year he had bagged the yellow metal in the Asian Athletic Championships with a throw of 85.23m meters.
Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh was India’s flag-bearer at the 2014 Asian Games, which was held at Incheon, South Korea.
In the last edition, India won 57 medals, 11 of which were gold. The other medals comprised of 10 silver and 36 bronze medals.
Meanwhile, the IOA had announced a 524-member contingent for the Asian Games to be held from August 18-September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia.
The contingent which consists of 277 men and 247 women athletes, will vie for medals in 36 disciplines. Four years ago at the Incheon Asian Games, the Indian contingent comprised of 541 athletes who participated across 28 disciplines.