New Delhi: Asian javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra will be India’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the upcoming Asian Games, scheduled to be held in Indonesia from August 18, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced on Friday.
IOA president Narinder Batra made the announcement at the send-off ceremony of the Indian squad here at a city hotel.
Neeraj, 20, is one of India’s brightest prospects to win a gold medal at the Asiad as he registered a season best effort of 86.47 meters in men’s javelin throw at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG).
In May 2018, the 2016 U-20 world champion broke the national record at the Doha Diamond League with a throw of 87.43 meters.
Recently Neeraj also won two titles at Savo Games in Finland and Sotteville Athletics meet in France.
He also holds the national record of throwing 87.43 metres, which he accomplished during the first leg of the Diamond League Meeting in Doha in May.
A total of 572 athletes will be participating in the event in 36 different sports categories. The contingent will be led by Chef de Mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
In the 2014 Asiad in Incheon, India finished eighth, with 57 medals.
Batra said that the current squad is better equipped to better the 2014 tally. “We are expecting a better performance than last edition,” Batra told reporters at the send-off event.
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore wished good luck to the Indian contingent. “Representing the country is not only a matter of pride but also a responsibility,” he said. IANS