New Delhi:

Indian hockey captain Harmanpreet Singh and Olympic medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain will be the flag-bearers of the Indian contingent during the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou on September 23. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday decided to have a joint flag bearer for the continental tournament. A total of 655 Indian athletes are participating in the Asian Games this time, which is the largest ever contingent from the country. "We took this decision today after much deliberation," Indian contingent chief Bhupinder Singh Bajwa said.

"Virat and Sachin are special players because..." Manjrekar spoke of similar qualities between the two players.

"This time we will have two flag-bearers for the Asian Games - hockey captain Harmanpreet Singh and boxer Lovlina Borgohain," Bajwa, who heads the Wushu Association of India, said.

Lovlina had won a bronze medal in the 69kg category at the Tokyo Olympics. This year, she won the gold medal in the 75kg event of the Women's Boxing Championships in New Delhi. Harmanpreet is one of the best dragflickers in the world and was part of the historic bronze medal winning team at the Tokyo Olympics, ending the Indian hockey team's over four-decade-long medal drought at the Olympics.

The Indian men's hockey team will be eyeing a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games to achieve automatic qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Along with Bajwa, four deputy contingents will be headed for the Asian Games. He is also the chairman of the ad-hoc committee for wrestling set up by the IOA.