| The Tricolour is hoisted at the 14th Asian Games Athletesí Village in Busan on Saturday. (AFP)
Busan, Sept. 28 (PTI): Fresh from their more than respectable show in the recent Commonwealth Games, the largest-ever Indian contingent will be hoping to make a significant impact and improve its medals tally in the 14th Asian Games that begins on Sunday.
The record haul of 30 gold medals in Manchester has served as a huge morale booster for the athletes, who have often struggled to make an impact at the international level.
The going, however, may prove to be far more difficult at the Asian Games where powerhouses China, Japan and hosts South Korea are likely to do the bulk of the gold shopping.
Indiaís hopes mainly lie on the shooters, athletes, tennis players and weightlifters, while billiards and snooker, boxing and hockey teams are also hoping of returning home with some medals.
India came back with a medal tally of seven gold, 11 silver and 17 bronze medals from Bangkok in 1998 and finished ninth. They will be eager to improve upon that this time round.
After their splendid performance in Manchester, the spotlight will be on the shooters, although they have acknowledged that bagging gold medals with the Korean and Chinese shooters around will be far more difficult.
The menís hockey team will face the daunting task of retaining their gold with traditional rivals Pakistan, hosts South Korea and Malaysia being their main challengers.
On the other hand the womenís team, that clinched its first-ever gold at the Commonwealth Games, has a very good chance of taking first or second place since only four countries are taking part.
Jaspal Rana, Abhinav Bindra and Anjali Bhagwat are expected to spearhead the Indian challenge in shooting at the Changwon International shooting range. The Indians had managed just three silvers in Bangkok.
The athletics events at the Busan Stadium could also fetch a few medals for India, going by their current performance. The athletes did very well in Manchester to win a silver and a bronze, and it remains to be seen whether they can repeat the show here. Saraswati Saha is being tipped as a golden hope in the 200m.
Middle distance runner K.M. Beenamol, jumper Anju B. George, thrower Shakti Singh and Bobby Aloysius are also medal prospects. The athletics events begin on October 7.
The five-member weightlifting contingent is also hopeful of picking up a couple of medals, though their performance was far from impressive in Bangkok where they managed just a silver.
But Manchester was a revelation as Kunjurani Devi and Sanamacha Chanu not only swept all three golds in their respective categories, but also accounted for a sizeable portion of the medal collection.
The pugilists are also hoping to come home with a couple of medals and it will be left to Dingko Singh, Mohammed Ali Qamar and Jitender Kumar to do the job.