Played from November 19, 1982 to December 4, 1982, Asian Games held in Delhi were the 9th in the series; incidentally the inaugural Asian Games were held in New Delhi too back in the year 1951. A record 33 nations participated in the 1982 Asian Games, the largest ever in the games history. The repertoire of 21 sports played at these games included 147 different sporting events, with the addition of sports like handball, rowing, golf and equestrian sports. More than 4500 athletes participated in these games, and Delhi saw the largest influx of tourists from across the world that had come to witness the Asian Games in Delhi.
No doubt that the Indian Government, led by the dynamic Indira Gandhi wanted to put their best foot forward. An event of this stature would bring in hordes of tourists, and make people across the globe aware of India’s myriad colours. No stone was left unturned to turn Delhi into a world class city, fit to host an event of such stature. As a part of the major infrastructural development which preceded the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, the city was embellished with wide roads, crisscrossing flyovers, stadia, hotels, shops, offices, apartments and colonies. The government had correctly estimated the commercial & economic overflow which would take place as a result of Delhi hosting the games.
The Asian Games brought about a plethora of changes in the city’s landscape. Crores of rupees were spent in this mega makeover, and much of what we see in the city today harks back to the 1980’s including tourist attractions like Appu Ghar, and Asian Games Village on Khelgaon Marg in New Delhi. Amongst the most notable stadia which were built during these times are the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Indraprastha Stadium and the Talkatora Swimming Complex. But the most prominent architectural heritage from the 1982 Asian Games is the sprawling Pragati Maidan Complex, which was built on the eve of the games in Delhi. It was originally built as an exhibition and entertainment venue, and it continues to be one of the most popular landmarks in New Delhi.
The 1982 Asiad held in Delhi saw the rise of China in the sporting events, which led to the ouster of then sporting champions, Japan. The 1982 Asian Games Mascot was the baby elephant called “Appu”. An endearing elephant, Appu went on to become synonymous with children and fun, when Appu Ghar (House of Appu), an amusement park was constructed post the Asian Games concluded in Delhi. The Asiad also brought about another major socio-economic change in India, when the colour television was introduced in India for the first time. This was the first time that the games would be broadcasted in color on television, and anyone who could afford it purchased their first color TV in the Indian history.