[India], Aug 11 (ANI): The Sports Ministry on Saturday gave a go-ahead to an 804-member Indian contingent, including 572 athletes, for the upcoming 18th Asian Games.
The 572 sportspersons include 312 male and 260 female athletes, along with 122 coaches / High-performance director, 26 managers, 21 doctors, physiotherapists and 63 other officials including the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) contingent and medical team.
The Ministry said it would bear the expense of 755 members, with 49 out of 232 officials allowed at no cost to the government.
"...convey the approval of the government for participation of 804 members [572 sportspersons (312 male and 260 female athletes), 122 coaches/high performance directors], 26 managers, 21 doctors and physiotherapists and 63 other officials including the IOA contingent and medical team) of the Indian contingent to participate in the Asian Games 2018," read the official letter.
"The participation of these 755 members of Indian contingent has been approved at cost to the government," it added.
The Sports Ministry in its letter said that the contingent for the Asian Games has been cleared based on the list of athletes/officials furnished by IOA and their participation will be the sole responsibility of IOA.
"The contingent for the Asian Games 2018 has been cleared based on the list of athletes/officials furnished by IOA. Participation of these athletes/officials in the Asian Games 2018 will be the sole responsibility of IOA. Hence, IOA shall ensure that only such athletes/officials should be allowed to depart for participation in the Asian Games whose entries has been accepted by the Indonesia Asian Games 2018 Organizing Committee (INASGOC)," the letter read.
The ministry also said that expenditure of the Indian contingent will be borne by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) from the funds made available to it under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations (NSFs).
Earlier in the day, the men and women's handball teams were given an official send-off for the upcoming Asian Games, in the presence of former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur.
Speaking to ANI, the men's team captain Deepak Ahlawat expressed confidence on winning a gold medal for the country.
"When we heard that the men's team will not be part of the Asian Games, we were very disappointed. But now, as a team, we want to prove that we can win a medal," he said.
The women's team captain Indu Gupta too expressed confidence in her team's victory.
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.
Asian Games are slated to be held from August 18 to September 2 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. (ANI)