1951 Asian Games

1951 Asian Games

I Asian Games
Logo of the 1951 Asian Games
Host city New Delhi, India
Motto Play the game, in the spirit of the game
Nations participating 11
Athletes participating 489
Events 57
Opening ceremony 4 March
Closing ceremony 11 March
Officially opened by President Rajendra Prasad
Athlete's Oath Baldev Singh
Torch Lighter Dalip Singh
Main venue National Stadium

The 1951 Asian Games, officially known as the First Asian Games, was a Soviet Union and Vietnam, due to the political structure of those nations.

1982 Asian Games, some 31 years later.[1]


  • History 1
  • Host city selection 2
  • Organisation 3
  • Venues 4
  • Events 5
    • Aquatics 5.1
      • Diving 5.1.1
      • Swimming 5.1.2
      • Water polo 5.1.3
    • Athletics 5.2
    • Basketball 5.3
    • Cycling 5.4
    • Football 5.5
    • Weightlifting 5.6
  • Calendar 6
  • Opening ceremony 7
  • Participating nations 8
  • Medal table 9
    • Medal distribution 9.1
  • See also 10
  • Notes and references 11
  • External links 12


A map of India with Delhi marked in the north of the country.
A map of India with Delhi marked in the north of the country.
Location of Delhi in India

1951 Asian Games, thus Asian Games are considered to be a successor of a small-scale multi-sport event known as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and started the Second Sino-Japanese War (which later became part of the World War II), thus the originally planned Games of 1938 in Osaka was cancelled and the Far Eastern Games were discontinued thereafter.[2][3]

During the starting years of the 1930s, efforts were made to organise a multi-sport event to include the countries of West Asia too, this gave a birth to "Orient Championship Games", which later renamed as Western Asiatic Games before its first inception. The scope of the Games comprised all the countries east of Suez and west of Singapore. The First Western Asiatic Games was celebrated in Delhi in 1934 at the Irwin Amphitheater, in which four countries—Afghanistan, British India, Palestine Mandate and Ceylon—participated. The decision was made to hold these Games once in four years at midpoint between the two successive Summer Olympics. The 1938 Western Asiatic Games were scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv, Palestine Mandate. However, the Games was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II, and abandoned until 1951 Games, which also considered as the revival of Western Asiatic Games.[4][5]

Host city selection

On 12 and 13 February 1949, a meeting was organised at the

Preceded by
Far Eastern Games
Asian Games

I Asiad (1951)
Succeeded by
  • 1951 Asian Games at the Olympic Council of Asia website.

External links

  1. ^ "IX Asian Games". sports.gov.pk.  
  2. ^ "Games – Far eastern Championship Games".  
  3. ^ England, Frederick O. "History of the Far Eastern Athletic Association" (PDF). la84foundation.org.  
  4. ^ a b Tiwari, Saket Raman (2008). History of Physical Education. Delhi: APH Publishing. pp. 259–260.  
  5. ^ Thorpe, Edgar (2010). The Pearson General Knowledge Manual 2010. Delhi:  
  6. ^ "The First Asian Games Championships will be held in March 1951 at New Delhi" (pdf). LA84 Foundation. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "1st Asian Games 1951" (pdf).  
  8. ^ "Rajpramukh of PEPSU's message".  
  9. ^ Cashman, Richard I. (1980). Patrons, players, and the crowd: the phenomenon of Indian cricket. Sangam Books Ltd. pp. 20–21.  
  10. ^ Robertson, Louise (6 March 2011). "Golden memories of London's last Olympics". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Colourful Conclusion of The First Asian Games". Indian Express (New Delhi). 13 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Khanduri, C.B (1995). Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa: his life and times. Delhi: Lancer Publishers & Distributors. p. 117.  
  13. ^ a b c d "Report of the First Asian Games held at New Delhi" (pdf). LA84 Foundation. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "INDIA: First Asiad".  
  15. ^ "First Asiad Pictures". The Indian Express. 16 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "Ist Asian Games—Swimming, Diving & Water Polo". Sports Bharti. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  17. ^ "Swimming—Past Medals". Doha Asian Games' official website. Wayback Machine. 29 November 2006. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  18. ^ "Sachin Nag's victory in swimming". The Times of India (Delhi). 9 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Asian Games Water Polo Results" (pdf).  
  20. ^ "Ist Asian Games—Basketball—Results in detail". Sports Bharti. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  21. ^ "Ist Asian Games—Cycling". Sports Bharti. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  22. ^ "Iran and Japan in drawn game". The Indian Express (Delhi). 9 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  23. ^ De Dekker, Guy, Jovanovic, Bojan and Garin, Erik (31 Mar 2011). "Asian Games 1951 (India)".  
  24. ^ "Ist Asian Games—Weightlifting". Sports Bharti. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "President Inaugurates First Asian Games". The India Express (Madras). p. 5. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  26. ^ "Mr. De Mello at the Asian Games". The Indian Express (New Delhi). 1 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  27. ^ "First Asian Games — Over 500 athletes tp participate". The Indian Express (Madras). 21 February 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  28. ^ "Asian Games — New Delhi 1951". Olympic Council of Asia. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  29. ^ Kaur Vijay, Sriman R, Rijvi S.T. Husain (1988). "Yojana (Spotlight on youth & sports)". Socio-Economic (Delhi: Publications Division,  
  30. ^ "India record their best-ever performance in Asian Games".  
  31. ^ "Overall Medal Standings – New Delhi 1951". Olympic Council of Asia. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  32. ^ "Sports people – Neo Chwee Kok (1931–1986)" (pdf).  
  33. ^ "Singapore at the Asian Games – 1st Asian Games" (pdf). Singapore National Olympic Council. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  34. ^ "Overall medal standings — New Delhi". Olympic Council of Asia. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  35. ^ "Asian Games Water Polo Results–1st Asian Games 1951" (pdf).  
  36. ^ "1st Asian Games: 1951 New Delhi – Cycling". Sports Bharti. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  37. ^ "OCA History". Olympic Council of Asia. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  • a Yadavindra Singh was also the only Rajpramukh (equivalent to Governor) of Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU).
  • b The Asian Games Federation was succeeded by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which was formed in Delhi during the Asian Games Federation Council meeting on 26 November 1981.[37]

Notes and references

See also

Map of Asia illustrating the countries/regions that have won medal(s) in the 1951 Asian Games
Map of Asia illustrating the countries/regions that have won medal(s) in the 1951 Asian Games
Participating NOCs with:   at least one gold medal (*);   at least one silver medal (dagger);   at least one bronze medal (^);   no medals (#). Red circle: host city.

Medal distribution

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Japan (JPN) 24 21 15 60
2  India (IND) 15 16 20 51
3  Iran (IRI) 8 6 2 16
4  Singapore (SIN) 5 7 2 14
5  Philippines (PHI) 5 6 8 19
6  Ceylon (CEY) 0 1 0 1
7  Indonesia (INA) 0 0 5 5
8  Burma (BIR) 0 0 3 3
Total 57 57 55 169
      Host nation

A total of 169 medals (57 gold, 57 silver and 55 bronze) were awarded. The total number of bronze medals is less than the total number of gold or silver medals because bronze medals were not awarded in water polo and the team pursuit event of track cycling.[35][36]

The ranking in this table is consistent with International Olympic Committee convention in its published medal tables. By default, the table is ordered by the number of gold medals the athletes from a nation have won (in this context, a nation is an entity represented by a National Olympic Committee). The number of silver medals is taken into consideration next, and then the number of bronze medals. If nations are still tied, equal ranking is given; they are listed alphabetically by IOC country code.[34]

Athletes from eight participating NOCs won at least one medal, five of them winning at least one gold medal. Athletes from Japan earned the highest number of gold medals (24) and the most overall medals (60). Host nation India finished second with 15 golds and 51 overall medals as well as the most bronzes (20). Through 2010, it would be the best rank achieved by India in medal table in all succeeding Asian Games.[29][30] Iran finished third with 8 golds and 16 overall medals. Three NOCs, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Thailand failed to earn any medals.[31] Singaporean swimmer Neo Chwee Kok earned the honour of winning the first gold medal in the history of the Asian Games.[32] He won a total of four golds, all in the free style events (400m, 800m, 1500m, and 4 × 100m relay); becoming the most medalled athlete in this Games.[33]

Mahmoud Namjoo of Iran won a gold medal in the Bantamweight (56 kg) category of weightlifting.

Medal table

The 1951 Asiad featured athletes representing 11 China was invited, but did not respond before the closing dates for entries. Pakistan denied to participate because of the Kashmir conflict with India. South Korea attended the meeting of Olympic representatives of Asian countries, held on 8 August 1948 during London Olympics and was agreed to send athletes for Games to participate but didn't send any because of the Korean War. Soviet Union and Vietnam were not invited because of their political systems.[26] Japan was neither invited to the 1948 Summer Olympics nor to attend the founding meeting of Asian Games Federation held in February 1949 in Delhi, but allowed to participate in these Games, Japan sent 72 member strong team, second largest after the host, participated in all except aquatics events. Burma and India sent their contingents in all the events. Iran participated in all events, but did not send any female athletes.[27] Below is a list of all the participating NOCs; the number of competitors per delegation is indicated in brackets:[28]

Participating countries

Participating nations

Prime Minister Nehru presented his speech from which organisers of the Games adopted the official motto of the Games— "Play the game, in the spirit of the game". Fifteen of the Indian army's trumpeters with flags of eleven participating countries on their mastheads gave their performance. In an alphabetical order of English, athletes of the participating countries of the 1951 Asiad entered in the stadium with a march past, by following the custom of Olympics; India entered last as the host nation. The Lighting of the Cauldron was done by the 1924 Olympian of India, Dalip Singh with the help of Asian Games torch, which had been lit by the sun's rays in the Red Fort. Afterwards, Baldev Singh, a member of the Indian athletics squad, recited the athlete's oath on behalf of all competitors at the Games.[7]

The first Asian Games will promote the realisation of understanding and friendship among all nations and will start a process which, as time passes, will go on cementing the friendly ties between the peoples of Asia.

—President Rajendra Prasad[7]

On 4 March 1951, the First Asian Games were officially opened. The list of the guests included— India's first President Rajendra Prasad, first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, cabinet members of Indian Government, diplomatic corps and representatives of participating Asian NOCs. The National Stadium was filled with an estimated 40,000 spectators. A 31-gun salute was fired from the ramparts of the Purana Quila, adjacent to the National Stadium, in the honour of guests and participants of first Asian Games. After a speech by the president of Asian Games Federation, HRH Yadavendra Singh, President Rajendra Prashad officially opened the Games.[7][25]

Indian athletes marching into the stadium.

Opening ceremony

March 1951 4th
Athletics 4 3 13 13 33
Basketball 1 1
Cycling – Road 1 1
Cycling – Track 1 1 1 3
Diving 1 1 2
Football 1 1
Swimming 2 3 3 8
Water polo 1 1
Weightlifting 1 2 2 2 7
Total gold medals 3 6 5 6 4 17 16 57
Ceremonies OC CC
March 1951 4th
OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals CC Closing ceremony

In the following calendar for the 1951 Asian Games, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport were held. The numeral indicates the number of event finals for each sport held that day. On the left, the calendar lists each sport with events held during the Games, and at the right, how many gold medals were won in that sport. There is a key at the top of the calendar to aid the reader.


In weightlifting, seven countries participated in seven events—bantamweight (56 kg), featherweight (60 kg), lightweight (67.5 kg), middleweight (75 kg), light heavyweight (82.5 kg), middle heavyweight (90 kg), and heavyweight (+90 kg). Iranian weightlifters dominated in all events and claimed 10 medals in total including all the golds, Singapore won two silvers, while both India and Philippines won one silver and one bronze.[13][24]


In football, six Asian teams—Afghanistan, Burma, India, Indonesia, Iran, and Japan—participated. The gold medal was won by the Indian team, who defeated Iran 1–0 in the final. Japan defeated Afghanistan, 2–0 to win the bronze medal. In semifinals, two matches were played in between Iran and Japan to decide one of the finalists, as first match played on 7 March remained goalless, even match went for overtime; on a next day a replay semifinal match was played in between both the teams in which Iran defeated Japan with a goal difference of 3 to 2.[22][23]


In cycling, four nations—Burma, India, Iran, and Japan—sent their cyclists. Two disciplines—road race and track race—were contested. Track cycling included—1000 m sprint, 1000 m time trial, and 4000 team-pursuit; for road cycling, 180 km individual road race was contested. The event was widely perceived as being dominated by Japan, who claimed 8 medals in total, including all the four golds out of 11 total overall medals and 4 golds. Indian cyclists won all the rest 3 medals as Burma and Iran failed to achieve a single one.[21]


In basketball, five Asian teams—Burma, India, Iran, Japan, and Philippines—participated. In the matches, the round-robin format was employed and on the basis of final points table top three podium places were decided. Philippines team without losing a single match topped the points table and grabbed a gold medal, Japan team finished behind it and won a silver medal, Iranian team with two wins finished third and won a bronze. Host nation India, finished fourth with only single win over Burma, which came last without winning a single match.[20]


Athletics was the only sport in which all the eleven participating nations sent their athletes. The Games featured 24 medal events for men and 9 for women. Japanese women won all the 9 golds of their events and just lost four silvers to India and Singapore, two for each. In men's events, again Japan achieved highest number of golds with count of 11, but here Indian athletes finished just one medal behind to Japan with 10 golds. Toyoko Yoshino, a Japanese woman athlete, won all the golds in three throwing sports— shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. Lavy Pinto of India was the only man who achieved multiple gold medals, he finished at the top podium in men's 100 m and 200 m sprint running events.[13]


In water polo, only two teams—India and Singapore—participated. The only match of the tournament decided the winner, in which the Indian team defeated Singapore with a goal difference of 6 to 4.[13][19]

Water polo

In swimming, five nations sent their swimmers to participate in 8 events, 5 of freestyle (100 m, 400 m, 800 m, 1500 m, and 4 × 100 m relay) and one of each backstroke (100 m), breaststroke (200 m) and medley (3 × 100 m). After these Games, 800 m freestyle and 3 × 100 m medley relay were removed from the swimming calendar of Asian Games. Singapore bagged half of gold medals and 2 silvers, while Philippines earned half of total medals including 3 golds, India finished with 6 total medals including one gold of Sachin Nag in 100 m freestyle, which was the first gold of India in Asian Games; two nations left without any medal.[17][18]


In diving, two medal events—3 m springboard and 10 m platform—were included. India and Iran were the only nations that achieved medals. Indian diver, K. P. Thakkar won both the golds and overall India won 4 medals. Iran bagged only one silver and one bronze.[16]



In the Games, "Mr. Asia of 1951" was also contested as the non-medal event. The contingents were judged on the basis of their physical development, looks, and personality. Parimal Roy of India won the event ahead of Mahmoud Namjoo of Iran, who won gold medal in the bantamweight category of weightlifting.[14][15]

The Games featured six sports: Athletics, aquatics—broken into diving, swimming, and water polo disciplines—basketball, cycling—road cycling and track cycling—football, and weightlifting. The sports were broken down into 57 events. Many member countries of Asian Games Federation requested for the inclusion of boxing as a medal sport, but due to various reasons, boxing did not make the final list for the Games. Except athletics, women did not participate in any other event.[13]


The stadium was designed by Anthony S. DeMello and five-hundred thousand (500,000) rupees were required for the full construction, which was completed on 13 February 1933. The stadium was named after the Lord Irwin, 30th viceroy of India and the then Secretary of State for War.[12]

[7][4] The venue for the 1951 Asian Games was the


The responsibility of organising the First Asian Games was assigned to a special committee headed by Anthony de Mello.[9] An athletes camp was settled in Delhi, modelled after the Richmond Park Camp of London, which accommodated athletes of the 1948 Summer Olympics.[10][11]