The Sports Ministry has expanded India's contingent for the Asian Games by adding 17 more athletes, bringing the total to 651 athletes. Notably, this year marks the first appearance of Modern Pentathlon, an Olympic discipline, in India's representation at the Asian Games. Mayank Vaibhav Chapheker, recommended by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), is the sole athlete selected for Modern Pentathlon.
Initially, all five athletes proposed by the Modern Pentathlon Federation of India were excluded when the sports ministry announced the contingent on August 24. However, the decision was reviewed due to the Olympic status of Modern Pentathlon, and it was determined that it should be included as a qualifier for the Paris Olympics.
None of the athletes, except Mayank Chapheker, met the sports ministry's eligibility criteria of ranking within the top eight positions in any competition during the past year. Two athletes, including Mayank, had previously appealed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court after being excluded from the contingent. The court requested SAI to seek expert advice.
The largest additions to the contingent were in martial arts disciplines, including jiu-jitsu and kurash, with five athletes in jiu-jitsu and four in kurash. In shooting, skeet shooters Angad Veer Bajwa, Manisha Keer, and Preeti Rajak were included.
Amlan Borgohain, a 200m sprinter, was added to the athletics section. In cycling, the men's pursuit team of four received approval. Additionally, replacements were named for athletes who had tested positive for doping, including swimming and wushu.
Two officials were appointed "at no cost to the government": Captain Jitendra Dixit as manager-cum-compliance officer in sailing and Samuel August as the eSports coach.
These additions and replacements are expected to enhance India's representation and performance at the Asian Games, showcasing the country's growing prowess in various sports disciplines.