No in­door ori­en­ta­tion yet!

Sportstar - - HANDBALL PREVIEW - K. KEERTHIVASAN

Given the In­dian hand­ball teams’ — men’s and women’s — low­key per­for­mances in pre­vi­ous edi­tions of the Asian Games and the Asian Cham­pi­onships, it was a sur­prise to find a con­tin­gent be­ing sent to Jakar­taPalem­bang in the first place.

In­dia’s tally at Asian Games:

Gold medals avail­able at Jakarta­palem­bang:

Given that the In­dian hand­ball teams’ — men’s and women’s — low­key per­for­mances in pre­vi­ous edi­tions of the Asian Games and the Asian Cham­pi­onships have not been im­pres­sive at all, it was a sur­prise to find a con­tin­gent be­ing sent to Jakarta­palem­bang in the first place.

The men’s team had its best fin­ish at the 19■2 Games in New Delhi, plac­ing eighth. This was the first time In­dia had par­tic­i­pated in the sport. In­dia skipped hand­ball for the next five edi­tions, then fin­ished 12th in 2006, ninth in 2010 and 14th in 2014.

The women’s team has fared no bet­ter, fin­ish­ing eighth and last in 2006 and eighth in a field of nine teams in 2010 and 2014. In fact, In­dia did not even send a squad to the 2017 Asian Women’s Hand­ball Cham­pi­onship. At the 201■ Asian Men’s Hand­ball Cham­pi­onship held in South Korea, In­dia fin­ished 12th.

“We will try our best. It will be very dif­fi­cult. We will hope to make it to the quar­ter­fi­nals [in both],” said Anan­desh­war Pandey, trea­surer of the In­dian Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion and sec­re­tary of the Hand­ball Fed­er­a­tion of In­dia. “We don’t have a proper in­door court; we have al­ways played out­door. The Sports Author­ity of In­dia doesn’t have an in­door court for us. First, let us have a taste of the at­mos­phere of the in­door court and then we can think of win­ning medals.”

RITU RAJ KONWAR

Suc­cess elu­sive: The In­dian men’s team had its best fin­ish at the 1982 Games in New Delhi, plac­ing eighth. This was the first time the coun­try had par­tic­i­pated in the sport.

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