Asian Games W2W4: Sushil chases missing crown, mixed team shooting makes debut

Sushil Kumar's only Asian Games medal came at the 2006 edition in Doha. SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

The highlights for India on the opening day of competition at the Asian Games are the first medal events in mixed team shooting in Games history, a potential swansong for one of Indian sport's all-time greats, and a chance for the Indian women's hockey team to record a big win in their quest for Olympic qualification in Jakarta.

Sushil chases missing crown

India's most successful individual Olympian Sushil Kumar only has one bronze medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games to show for his efforts in the competition. At 35, he will be eager to prove that his convincing win at the Commonwealth Games in April was no fluke, as five of the six weight categories in men's freestyle wrestling will be decided on the opening day. It will not be an easy outing for Sushil, though, as he faces a 74kg field in which Asians occupy four of the top five rankings, including reigning champion Bekzod Abdurakhmonov of Uzbekistan.

One of the brighter Indian prospects is Bajrang Punia, silver medallist in 61kg four years ago, and coming into the 65kg as the reigning Commonwealth Games champion as well as the top-ranked Asian in the fray. His principal opposition will come in the shape of Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan and Iran's Mehran Nasiriafrachali and Yones Emamichoghaei. Of the other three Indian wrestlers in the fray, Mausam Khatri will be the most experienced of the lot but has a difficult 97kg field to negotiate if he is to find himself in medal contention.

Wrestling medal matches: 7 PM IST onwards

Shooters make their first appearance

Shooting gets underway in Palembang with the mixed team events -- 10m air rifle and air pistol -- making their Asian Games debut. The experienced Apurvi Chandela pairs up with Ravi Kumar in the rifle event, while the pistol event sees a relatively new combination with 16-year-old Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma teaming up. India had picked up their first mixed team gold at the ISSF World Cup final in October 2017, but that was with Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai, the latter not a part of the shooting contingent this time around.

10m air rifle mixed team final: 1 PM IST onwards

10m air pistol mixed team final: 4:20 PM IST onwards

Indian women get hockey campaign going

In their opening pool encounter, the women's hockey team - who recently reached the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time in 44 years - face hosts Indonesia, a team without enough competitive points to warrant a place in the top 35 of the world rankings.

Rani Rampal and Co. will have to guard against complacency, though, especially keeping in mind how they slipped up against lower-ranked Wales in their opening match of the Commonwealth Games in April. India are the highest-ranked nation in the women's field in Jakarta, though, at ninth, and are pooled alongside South Korea (10), whom they recently swapped rankings with. They also won the Asia Cup last year, and would realise that nothing less than gold, which would also ensure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, will do.

India vs. Indonesia: 6:30 PM IST onwards