Asian Games: Five things we never thought we'd see

ESPN picks out five results -- one each from athletics, TT, kabaddi, gymnastics and badminton -- we didn't see coming at the 2018 Asian Games.

Athletics: Dutee, second fastest in Asia

An Indian sprinter electric across every last inch of a significant 100m title, on even keel with the leader, holding off the chasers. We had not seen that for decades, generations. Until that evening, everything about Dutee Chand spelt hardship. A lifetime's load, struck out from competing in 2014, her hypoandrogenism case against the IAAF becoming her identity over her athletic ability. Third place at a ho-hum 11.52 in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship, way off her best. Maybe it was our imaginations that were limited. Dutee never doubted herself. Five feet tall against bigger, taller women, but over speed? Running freely for the first time in four years, breaking the 100m national record in June, one of Asia's top four 100m sprinters this year. Why shouldn't Dutee have been there? In a photofinish to decide the fastest woman in Asia. Eventually silver medallist, unshackled, a bullet off the blocks.

- Sharda Ugra

TT: Men's team, mixed doubles medals

First up, here's a confession. In all our imaginary medal maths ahead of the Asian Games, table tennis was at best an outside chance. India had never before won a medal at the Games, so we had history to back us up on that. Of course, there was the surprise eight-medal haul from the Commonwealth Games to take cue from, but that didn't have the movers and shakers in the sport in its field. With countries such as China, South Korea and Japan (who won 86 out of the 93 gold medals before this edition at the Asian Games) in the mix, you wanted to stay safe than sorry. But here we are after a fortnight with two bronze medals in table tennis -- in the men's team and mixed doubles events -- eating our words and learning never to doubt.

- Susan Ninan

Kabaddi: No gold

Picture this: Gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.... bronze in 2018. Reads off? That's how it went for India's kabaddi team at this year's Asian Games. The men's team finished third and the women's team, second. Now this would come across as a successful Games to many on paper, but given the history this was pretty much the worst result that the country could have brought in, as far as kabaddi was concerned. The men's team lost to South Korea (their first-ever loss at the Asian Games in history) -- a team they had lost to during the kabaddi World Cup group stage in 2016 as well -- along with the now mighty Iran who had it coming, given how tough a fight they've given to the world champions over the last few years. The women's team too went down to Iran in the final, with no answers to their solid defence.

- Debdatta Sengupta

Gymnastics: Three women in two apparatus finals

How are zero medals from gymnastics a surprise? This is not about the podium, this is about an unexpected presence. What Dipa Karmakar had wrought with the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games played itself out in Jakarta. India in an international event team final, for the first time in its Asian Games history. Three women in the individual finals across two apparatus. Two in the vault, but none of them was Dipa. Aruna Budda Reddy is a World Cup vault medallist and Pranati Nayak finished fourth at the Asian Championships. An Indian in the balance beam final -- and it was Dipa. On return from knee surgery, she made a beam final and won a vault gold at a World Cup in July. In Jakarta she finished fifth on the beam, a knee injury flaring. But assured and confident as always. As always leading the way.

- Sharda Ugra

Badminton: Two women on the podium (and no Chinese)

In 56 years and the 15 editions before 2018 where badminton was a part of the Games, India had managed to win just one medal in the singles competition: Syed Modi's bronze in 1982. So, India would have been more than happy with an individual medal in Jakarta. Even though PV Sindhu was seeded third, the women's singles field included nine of the top 10 women in the world rankings. Only five nations -- Indonesia, Japan, China, South Korea and Hong Kong (badminton powerhouses all) -- had managed to have two representatives on the women's singles podium before this. Saina, at 28, the oldest and lowest-ranked woman in the top 10, had the odds stacked against her. However, she rolled back the years as she sashayed into the semis, where she lost to eventual gold-medallist Tai Tzu Ying. A silver and bronze were more than what India had budgeted for in their wildest dreams (at least till the Aughties) and the performance put them in some select and elite company.

- Mohit Shah