XtraTime Web Desk: The 2018 Asian Games is all set to grab the attention of the sports fans in Asia. Before the event begins, www.xtratime.in takes you to the top three superstars who might glitter the stage in Jakarta and Pelembang.
SU BINGTIAN (CHINA), ATHLETICS
The Chinese flyer is in the form of his life and ready to cement his status as Asia’s fastest man.
Su stormed to a 100m personal best of 9.91sec in Madrid as recently as Jun 22 and proved it was no fluke by clocking the same time in Paris a week later.
Those runs came hot on the heels of Su’s wind-assisted 9.90 in Eugene in May, and the 28-year-old starts as a hot favourite in Jakarta after equalling the Asian record of Nigerian-born Qatari Femi Ogunode, who ran 9.91 in 2016.
SON HEUNG-MIN (KOREA), FOOTBALL
Tottenham have agreed a deal with the South Korean Football Association which will see South Korea’s most successful football export miss the first two matches at the Asian Cup in January in exchange for releasing him for the Asiad.
Son, whose goal knocked holders Germany out of the World Cup in Russia in June, came on as a late substitute in Saturday’s opening day 2-1 Premier League win at Newcastle before taking the long flight to Jakarta.
It is a calculated gamble by Spurs who know that losing the 26-year-old “Sonny” for three weeks at the start of this season could pay dividends if he can guide to country to a repeat of their 2014 games triumph.
A gold medal would be rewarded with an exemption from the 21 months of compulsory military service that, like all other Korean men, he would be required to begin before his 28th birthday in July 2020.
JOSEPH SCHOOLING (SINGAPORE), SWIMMING
Schooling pulled off one of the biggest surprises in swimming history by beating the great Michael Phelps in the American’s final individual race, the Rio 2016 100m butterfly final, to win Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal.
Four years ago in Incheon Schooling took three butterfly medals – gold in the 100m, silver in the 50m and bronze in the 200m.
The 22-year-old is aiming for five gongs in Jakarta – he may opt for the 100m freestyle instead of the 200m butterfly as well as his favourite 100m and 50m fly events while also taking on the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays.