Bowlers focus on gaining experience at Asian Games

With two days to go for the start of the sixteenth edition of one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in Asia, the Indian contingent arrived in the City early on Tuesday morning from their camp in Malaysia and left for Guangzhou in the same evening.

Six men and three women -- four of whom are from Karnataka -- have their eyes set on gathering as much experience as possible from the event, but “a medal would be an incentive.”

“The chances of India bagging a medal while competing against powerhouses like Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Chinese Taipei are very slim.  However, recently crowned National champion Shabbir Dhankot of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal’s Dilbir Singh (both men’s category), and Karnataka’s Prathima Hegde (women’s category) can perform out of their skin then India might dig out a medal from the competition.

“The training has been incredible,” the 27-year-old Dilbir said. “We are in good shape going into the Asian Games but we are realistic of our chances. This (Asiad) is more like an extension of what we have been doing for ten months. Our sights are set on the 2014 Games,” Dilbir added.

But the absence of premier kegler and women’s National champion Sabeenaa Saleem of TN will hamper the team. Sabeenaa backed out of the core camp in June, and ruled out taking part in the Asiad due to personal reasons.

“We have been doing really well in training,” said coach Allan Chia Sen Ang of Malaysia. “This is a well balanced side, and we hope to do well.”

The squads: Men: Shabbir Dhankot (TN), Dilbir Singh (WB), Girish Gaba (Kar), Dhruv Sarda(Del), Srinath Pobbathi (Kar), Akaash Ashok Kumar (Del).

Women: Prathima Hegde (Kar), Sumathi Nallabantu (AP), Swapna Mitra (Kar).

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