Over 100 Indian Athletes At The Tokyo Olympics; Many Firsts

The event will witness Indians play in categories such as fencing, equestrian sports, and more, for the first time.

Tanvi Jain

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. 

1. Archery 

Men’s Recurve 

  1. Tarundeep Rai
  2. Atanu Das
  3. Pravin Jadhav

Women's Recurve: Deepika Kumari  

2. Athletics 

Men's 20km race walking 

  1. KT Irfan
  2. Sandeep Kumar
  3. Rahul Rohilla

Men's 50km race walking: Gurpreet Singh  

Women's 20km race walking 

  1. Bhawna Jat
  2. Priyanka Goswami

Men's 3000m steeplechase: Avinash Sable  

Men's long jump: Murali Sreeshankar 

Men's 400m hurdles: MP Jabir

Men's javelin throw  

  1. Neeraj Chopra
  2. 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 

  1. Kamalpreet Kaur
  2. Seema Punia

3. Badminton 

  1. Women’s singles: PV Sindhu
  2. Men’s singles: B Sai Praneeth
  3. Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty

4. Boxing 

  1. Vikas Krishan (Men's, 69kg)
  2. Lovlina Borgohain (Women's, 69kg)
  3. Ashish Kumar (Men's, 75kg)
  4. Pooja Rani (Women's, 75kg)
  5. Satish Kumar (Men's, 91kg)
  6. Mary Kom (Women's, 51kg)
  7. Amit Panghal (Men's, 52kg)
  8. Manish Kaushik (Men's, 63kg)
  9. Simranjit Kaur (Women's, 60kg)

5. Equestrian 

Fouaad Mirza, first Indian equestrian to qualify for Olympics in 20 years.  

6. Fencing 

Bhavani Devi, first Indian fencer to qualify for Olympics.  

7. Golf 

  1. Anirban Lahiri
  2. Udayan Mane
  3. Aditi Ashok

8. Gymnastics 

Pranati Nayak, second Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics.  

9. Hockey 

Men’s National Team led by Manpreet Singh  

Women’s National Team led by Rani Rampal  

10. Judo 

Sushila Devi Likmabam: India's only participant in Judo.  

11. Rowing 

  1. Arjun Jat
  2. Arvind Singh

12. Sailing 

  1. Nethra Kumanan, Laser Radial
  2. Vishnu Saravanan, Laser Standard
  3. KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar, 49er

13. Shooting

10m Women’s Air Rifle 

  1. Anjum Moudgil
  2. Apurvi Chandela

10m Men’s Air Rifle 

  1. Divyansh Singh Panwar
  2. Deepak Kumar

50m Women’s Rifle 3 Position: Tejaswini Sawant

50m Men’s Rifle 3 Position  

  1. Sanjeev Rajput
  2. Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar

10m Women’s Air Pistol 

  1. Manu Bhaker
  2. Yashaswini Singh Deswal

10m Men’s Air Pistol 

  1. Saurabh Chaudhary
  2. Abhishek Verma

25m Women’s Pistol 

  1. Rahi Sarnobat
  2. Chinki Yadav (replaced by Elavenil Valarivan)

14. Men’s Skeet 

  1. Angad Veer Singh Bajwa
  2. Mairaj Ahmad Khan

15. Swimming 

  1. Sajan Prakash, men's 200m butterfly
  2. Srihari Nataraj, men's 100m backstroke
  3. Maana Patel, women's 100m backstroke

16. Table Tennis 

  1. Sharath Kamal
  2. SathiyanGnanasekaran
  3. Sutirtha Mukherjee
  4. Manika Batra

17. Tennis

Women's Doubles 

  1. Sania Mirza
  2. Ankita Raina

18. Weightlifting 

Mirabai Chanu: India's only representative in weightlifting

19. Wrestling 

  1. Seema Bisla, Women's Freestyle, 50kg
  2. Vinesh Phogat, Women’s Freestyle 53kg
  3. Anshu Malik, Women's Freestyle 57kg
  4. Sonam Malik, Women's Freestyle 62kg
  5. Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Men’s Freestyle 57kg
  6. Bajrang Punia, Men’s Freestyle 65kg
  7. Deepak Punia, Men’s Freestyle 86 kg

For more updates visit olympics.com/en/

Photo: Instagram/MC Mary Kom OLY, Instagram/Dutee chand, and Instagram/Sania Mirza
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