The much-awaited Tokyo Olympics 2020, is finally taking place, after being postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year. While thousands of athletes will be seen playing this year from different parts of the world, we are excited that over 100 of them are Indians. Olympics enthusiasts will once again get a chance to see renowned players such as, Mary Kom, Sania Mirza and Dutee Chand, in action. At the same time, the event will also be witness to many firsts for India. Some of the names here include Fouaad Mirza, first equestrian to qualify from the country after 20 years; first fencer, Bhavani Devi; and first Indian woman sailor, Nethra Kumanan. Not to mention an entry into the debut category of 4x400 Mixed Relay.
New Delhi-based sports journalist, Aditya Kunal Halder informs, “With a strong 127-athlete contingent, India is aiming to surpass its previous best performance of six medals -- two silver medals and four bronze -- and has strong reason to feel confident with a hoard of big names among its ranks. In the first week, gold medal hopes are bright for the shooting team after Indian shooters have won as many as 16 quotas with teen sensations, Saurabh Chaudhury and Manu Bhaker, as leading faces. Expectations are also high from rifle shooters, Divyansh Singh Panwar, and Elavenil Valarivan, both highest ranked in 10m air rifle category of men and women respectively." However, this time Valarivan has been kept in 25m women's pistol category, in place of Chinki Yadav.
For weightlifting, he adds that Padma Shri Awardee, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, who is also a world record holder in 49 kg category of weightlifting; and India's only representative in the category at the Tokyo Olympics, has a strong chance of winning a silver or a gold medal, if she manages to surpass her Chinese opponent, Hou Zihui.
Speaking of archery he further says that newly-weds, Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das, are among the favourites to win India its first medal in the mixed doubles category. While world number one, Kumari, is in the race for an individual gold; Das will also be seen competing in the men's team with co-players, Tarundeep rai, and Pravin Jadhav. “In the past, Kumari has entered two Olympics, but has failed to meet expectations on both occasions. However, this time as she enters the debut category of mixed doubles with Das, fans are hoping for India's first medal in archery. Not to mention her newly-won world cup medal in Paris last month, defeating many tournament favourites."
Moving on to boxing, he explains that six-time boxing world champion, and 2012 Olympics bronze medalist, Mary Kom, has made her intentions clear that she won't settle for anything less than a gold as she goes out of her comfort zone to the 51 kg category. “Apart from her, fans have high hopes from Amit Phangal as well, the best in his category."
While, wrestling hopes are pinned on Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, names like Ravi Kumar Dhaiya, Sonam Malik, and Deepak Punia, could spring a surprise in the repechage (lucky loser) round. The Phogat sister, a top ranked 53kg freestyle wrestler, won gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games, two years after suffering a heartache at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. World number two, Bajran Punia, on the other hand holds a record of being a three-time World Championship medalist.
Moreover, PV Sindhu will be the prime candidate in Badminton, with her biggest competitor Carolina Marin not being a part of Olympics this year. “However, her recent barren title run and dominance of Tai Tzu-ying, will be the biggest roadblock in her medal win."
Halder concludes with Neeraj Chopra from the men's javelin throw category, saying, “Eyes will be on Chopra in the closing days of Olympics when the track and field events will begin in the last week. The Arjuna awardee broke his national record back in March and could end Indian athletics' 120-year-old drought that eluded medal success to legends like PT Usha and late Milkha Singh."
Here's a complete list of Indians who have qualified to play in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8.
- Tarundeep Rai
- Atanu Das
- Pravin Jadhav
Women's Recurve: Deepika Kumari
Men's 20km race walking
- KT Irfan
- Sandeep Kumar
- Rahul Rohilla
Men's 50km race walking: Gurpreet Singh
Women's 20km race walking
- Bhawna Jat
- Priyanka Goswami
Men's 3000m steeplechase: Avinash Sable
Men's long jump: Murali Sreeshankar
Men's 400m hurdles: MP Jabir
Men's javelin throw
- Neeraj Chopra
- Shivpal Singh
Women's javelin throw: Annu Rani
Men's shot put: Tajinderpal Singh Toor
Women's 100m and 200m: Dutee Chand
Women's discus throw
- Kamalpreet Kaur
- Seema Punia
- Women’s singles: PV Sindhu
- Men’s singles: B Sai Praneeth
- Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty
- Vikas Krishan (Men's, 69kg)
- Lovlina Borgohain (Women's, 69kg)
- Ashish Kumar (Men's, 75kg)
- Pooja Rani (Women's, 75kg)
- Satish Kumar (Men's, 91kg)
- Mary Kom (Women's, 51kg)
- Amit Panghal (Men's, 52kg)
- Manish Kaushik (Men's, 63kg)
- Simranjit Kaur (Women's, 60kg)
Fouaad Mirza, first Indian equestrian to qualify for Olympics in 20 years.
Bhavani Devi, first Indian fencer to qualify for Olympics.
- Anirban Lahiri
- Udayan Mane
- Aditi Ashok
Pranati Nayak, second Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics.
Men’s National Team led by Manpreet Singh
Women’s National Team led by Rani Rampal
Sushila Devi Likmabam: India's only participant in Judo.
- Arjun Jat
- Arvind Singh
- Nethra Kumanan, Laser Radial
- Vishnu Saravanan, Laser Standard
- KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar, 49er
10m Women’s Air Rifle
- Anjum Moudgil
- Apurvi Chandela
10m Men’s Air Rifle
- Divyansh Singh Panwar
- Deepak Kumar
50m Women’s Rifle 3 Position: Tejaswini Sawant
50m Men’s Rifle 3 Position
- Sanjeev Rajput
- Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar
10m Women’s Air Pistol
- Manu Bhaker
- Yashaswini Singh Deswal
10m Men’s Air Pistol
- Saurabh Chaudhary
- Abhishek Verma
25m Women’s Pistol
- Rahi Sarnobat
- Chinki Yadav (replaced by Elavenil Valarivan)
14. Men’s Skeet
- Angad Veer Singh Bajwa
- Mairaj Ahmad Khan
- Sajan Prakash, men's 200m butterfly
- Srihari Nataraj, men's 100m backstroke
- Maana Patel, women's 100m backstroke
16. Table Tennis
- Sharath Kamal
- Sutirtha Mukherjee
- Manika Batra
- Sania Mirza
- Ankita Raina
Mirabai Chanu: India's only representative in weightlifting
- Seema Bisla, Women's Freestyle, 50kg
- Vinesh Phogat, Women’s Freestyle 53kg
- Anshu Malik, Women's Freestyle 57kg
- Sonam Malik, Women's Freestyle 62kg
- Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Men’s Freestyle 57kg
- Bajrang Punia, Men’s Freestyle 65kg
- Deepak Punia, Men’s Freestyle 86 kg
For more updates visit olympics.com/en/