228 Indian players will take part in the Olympics, which is the highest ever for the country.
The biggest sporting carnival is now less than a week away and India will look to come up with inspiring performances. India had bagged six medals at the London 2012 Olympics (two Silver and four Bronze) which was one of their best renditions. However, the Indian contingent could only win two medals (one silver and one bronze) in the previous edition of the Rio Olympics. Thus, India will look to turn the tables in the upcoming Games.
As many as 228 Indian players will take part in the Olympics, which is the highest ever for the country. Out of these 228 players, 119 will compete in 85 different medal categories. We take a look at 10 players/teams who could be the medal prospects for the country in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020.
1. PV Sindhu (Badminton)
There will be huge expectations from the lanky shuttler after she had won a Silver medal in Rio Olympics in 2016. The 26-year old is currently placed at seventh rank in BWF rankings and she would look to bring her best to the table. Sindhu recently made it to the semifinals of the All England Open where she lost to Thai player ****pawee Chochuwong. The Hyderabad-born has worked on her defense and he had qualified directly for the Olympics as her BWF ranking is under 10.
2. Mary Kom (51 Kg, Boxing)
Mary Kom. Image – PTI
India’s veteran boxer Mary Kom has all the experience under her belt. Kom had won the Bronze medal back in the London Olympics 2012 and she will look to go the way. In all possibility, it will be Kom’s last shot in the Olympics as she is already 38 years old. Kom recently won a silver in the Asian Boxing Championship in 2021 and will look to go all the way in the coveted event.
3. India’s men hockey team
Indian Hockey team. Image Credits: India hockey Twitter
India’s Men Hockey team last won an Olympic Gold medal back in 1980 when they defeated Spain in the final. However, since then a lot has changed and the team hasn’t been able to go all the way in the prestigious event. But the Tokyo Olympics bring a ray of hope for the Manpreet Singh-led team as they have been in good form. India is currently ranked at number four and they recently defeated Germany by 6-1. Furthermore, they also did well against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
4. Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling)
There will be eyes on Vinesh Phogat as she has shown the promise to bag a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Phogat bagged a maiden World Championship medal in the women’s 53 kg category after pinning Maria Prevolaraki in the Bronze medal match. She became the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 by virtue of her top-six finish. Furthermore, she became the first Indian female wrestler to win a gold at the last Asian Championship.
5. Manu Bhaker (Shooting)
As always, there will be huge expectations from the Shooting team to bag a medal at the forthcoming Olympics. Manu Bhaker, who is only 19-year old, will be the cynosure of all eyes in the upcoming Games. She will participate in three events and a 10m air pistol is going to be her biggest chance as she won most of her medals in that category. She won two gold medals at the 2018 ISSF World Cup and became the youngest Indian player to do so. In fact, she is a nine-time Gold Medallist at ISSG World Cup.
6. Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting)
Saurabh Chaudhary. Image – PTI
After Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary will also be the center of attraction in Shooting as he will take part in the 10m men’s air pistol category. Chaudhary, like Bhaker, is only 19-years old but he has impressed with his prodigious talent. Chaudhary is the youngest Indian gold medallist at the Asian Games as he won a medal in 2018 edition. The youngster won eight Gold medals at ISSF World Cup and recently won a Gold in New Delhi in 2021 is ISSF World Cup.
7. Neeraj Chopra (Javelin Throw)
Neeraj Chopra. Image Credits: PTI
India’s record in athletics isn’t the greatest in the Games but Javelin player Neeraj Chopra will certainly give hopes of a medal in the sport for the country. The 23-year old was able to hog the limelight after he won Gold in the 2018 Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. Neeraj was able to recently come up with his best effort as he was able to throw to a distance of 83.18m and will look to give his best in the upcoming Games.
8. Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting, 49 kg category)
Mirabai Chanu will be India’s only athlete who will take part in the Weightlifting event. Chanu is currently ranked at number two in the 49 kg category. She won a silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and then bettered her performance by winning Gold at World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The 26-year old will now look to bag a medal at the biggest event in the sporting world.
9. Deepika Kumari (Archery)
Deepika Kumari is in red-hot form and she is going to be a big medal prospect for India. Kumari is currently placed at No.1 in the rankings and she recently became the first Indian to win three individual women’s recurve gold medals at the Archery World Cup in Guatemala City in April. Kumari hasn’t performed up to the mark in her previous attempts in the Olympics and she will look to turn the tables in the upcoming event.
10. Bajrang Punia (Wrestling, 65 kg)
Bajrang Punia. Image Credits: PTI
As Sushil Kumar will not participate in the Olympics, there will be hopes from Bajrang Punia, who will take part in the 65 kg category free Wrestling. Punia won a Gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games and has also won two Asian Championships. In 2021, the 27-year old won a Silver medal in Asian Wrestling Championships in Kazakistan and thus he will be high on confidence to go all the way in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.