Men's hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh and star boxer Lovlina Borgohain will be India's flag-bearers during the Asian Games 2023 opening ceremony event in Hangzhou on September 23. Over six hundred Indian athletes are participating in the 19th edition of the tournament with cricket teams making their debut in a bid to increase India's medal tally.
Hangzhou Games kicked off on September 19 but the medals events will start on September 24, a day after an opening ceremony. Normally, every nation goes with only one athlete to lead the participants but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided to name both Harmanpreet Singh and Lovlina Borgohain to bear the Indian flag while leading 655 athletes.
Harmanpreet, India's star hockey player, guided India to a Bronze medal during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo while Lovlina famously became the only third Indian boxer to clinch the medal in the Olympics during the 2020 edition. Star Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was India's flag bearer during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and is the favourite to add a Gold medal to India's tally this year.
Bhupender Singh Bajwa, Indian contingent Chef de Mission, confirmed the IOA's decision to name two athletes to bear the Indian flag in Hangzhou on September 23.
"We arrived at the decision after much deliberation today," Bhupender Singh Bajwa told PTI on Wednesday. "This time we will have two flag-bearers leading the contingent at the Asian Games, hockey captain Harmanpreet Singh and boxer Lovlina Borgohain."
Indian hockey team arrived in Hangzhou on Tuesday and will play their first match against Uzbekistan on September 24. Indian men's team will face rivals Pakistan on September 30 and also face Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore in Pool A matches. Harmanpreet-led side is tipped to reach the final without any trouble having won the Gold medal in the 2018 edition.