ESPN India's favourite moments at Asian Games

Fifteen days, 572 athletes and 69 medals later, ESPN India staff members pick out their favourite moments from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.

Wonder Barman

Swapna Barman, none other. Remember, crazy is the starting point for every heptathlete. Seven events over two days -- 100m, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin, 800m. Swapna is three back injuries and a meniscus tear to the good, and a killer toothache strikes before the toughest 48 hours of her competitive life. Big deal -- she produces three personal bests and two season's bests. A curved run-up for her javelin throw, the furthest she'd ever gone. She drives past her nearest rival over the final 800m, arms pumping, hair flying, warrior face at work. Her shout past the line is heard across miles, drawing out weeks, months and years that had she had waited for this. To become Asia's best all-around female athlete. So, unless you're going to provide Swapna the required sets of custom-made high-quality competition shoes, forget about those damn toes. (Sharda Ugra)

The silver that sparkled like gold

Two years ago, Dutee Chand laughed when I asked if she thought she was India's best sprinter. "Not before I win a big medal," she'd replied. She was among the few who had a single room to herself at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad and as we sat chatting on her bed flicking through TV channels, she spoke of her future with doubt. Her pink and neon spikes were lined up neatly by the door with balled-up socks at the mouth but she wasn't certain if they could ever travel to a major competition. The gender debate abyss she'd been hurled into then seemed like a bottomless pit. Last week, lunging over the chalk in her bright blue vest for a silver-medal finish in the 100m race at the Asian Games, she'd purged every single question that had torn her down for the past four years. The colour of the medal didn't matter. Her silver had the sparkle of gold. (Susan Ninan)

Vinesh leaves Rio behind in style

For those who followed the Rio Olympics, one moment that would stick with them was Vinesh Phogat writhing in pain, holding her knee, while being pulled out of the wrestling arena in a stretcher. She was a favourite, and just two wins away from a medal. It was scary, and heartbreaking. It was perhaps fitting that the eventual Asian Games gold medallist would meet China's Sun Yanan -- her opponent during the Olympic quarters, who herself won bronze two years ago -- in her opening match, only to beat her 8-2 by technical superiority. Redemption, check. Pain-filled pictures replaced with happy ones, double check. (Debdatta Sengupta)

Iceman Saurabh's 10m air pistol gold

The fact that India won two shooting golds at the 2018 Asian Games was not a surprise in itself. However, the winners of those two medals definitely were. While Rahi Sarnobat's win was a sterling comeback after being sidelined by a serious injury, 16-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary's win was more impressive because it came in a very strong field, including Olympic champion Hoang Xuan Vinh, former Olympic and World champion Jin Jong-Oh and former world champion Tomoyuki Matsuda. (Mohit Shah)

When the Indian women wrought three minutes of mayhem

India may have eventually won just silver in women's hockey, but minutes 53 through 56 against South Korea in the pool stages suggested why this team has the potential to win many titles in the near future. Stuck at 1-1, India's catalyst in attack was Vandana Katariya, as her movement extracted two PCs, both of which Gurjit Kaur converted. For good measure, Vandana scored India's fourth to put an exclamation mark on the Indian performance, one where they raised their game at will and settled a contest. (Debayan Sen)

Dutee's spirited sprint

Dwarfed by most of her competitors, Dutee Chand made a swift start in the 100m final and was among the leading pack around the 70m mark. And a now-or-never plunge at the finish line saw her win India's first Asian Games medal in the event in 20 years. It took her 11.32 seconds -- but that's only if you ignore what came earlier. Once barred from competing on grounds of hyperandrogenism, Dutee had to first win a legal battle before she could even step on to the track and become an athlete again. In Jakarta, it was finally her time. Afraid she might miss out on a podium-finish despite all the momentum she had gained halfway into race, the 22-year-old from Odisha shut her eyes much before the finish line and gave it her all. Anybody could see she wanted a medal more than the others. (Gaurav Rai)

The 4x400m relay golden streak continues

Convention dictates you keep your fastest, and most experienced, runners for the fag end of the relay. Convention dictates that if you put an athlete making her international debut up against the fastest single-lapper in Asia on the anchor leg of the 4x400m, there can only be one winner. Convention, though, can eat some Indo-Russian humble pie. Audaciously strategised by Galina Bukharina and flawlessly executed by the team of Hima Das, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad, and VK Vismaya, India ran the perfect race to beat Bahrain's team of grade-A superstars -- a team that included the Games' 100m & 200m champion Edidiong Odiong and the 400m champ Salwa Eid Naser. India have now won 5 straight 4x400m women's relay golds in the Asiad. They've never lost this race in the 21st century. Long live the streak. (Anirudh Menon)