Tokyo 2020 Olympics: A look at India's medal hopefuls
The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be underway on Friday. India sent a 228-strong contingent comprising 119 athletes to the Tokyo Games, their largest-ever at Olympic sports. The nation won just two medals in the Rio 2016 Olympics (one bronze, one silver). India have 85 medal events in Tokyo in order to improve this record. Here are India's medal hopefuls.
PV Sindhu can go the extra mile
PV Sindhu scripted history in the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning a silver medal. She became the first badminton player to achieve this feat at Olympics. The 26-year-old lost to Spain's Carolina Marin in the final. Sindhu is India's best hope in badminton, despite not being at her best of late. She will need to be strong and focused to bring a medal home.
Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia could bag honors
Vinesh Phogat will be taking part in the 53 kg freestyle wrestling category at the Tokyo Games. The top seed will compete in the field that includes Sweden's Sofia Mattsson, China's Pang Qianyu, American Jacarra Winchester, and Japan's Mayu Mukaida. As per the experts, Phogat and Mukaida could contest in the final. Meanwhile, Bajrang Punia also remains a top contender (65 kg).
Will Mary Kom end her quest for Olympic gold?
At 38, Mary Kom will make yet another appearance at Olympic Games (51 kg). Magnificent Mary won a bronze in the London 2012 Olympics. The six-time world champion would want to end her quest for an Olympic gold. Mary will bank on her experience. Meanwhile, Amit Panghal (52 kg) is the top seed in his category and is being backed to perform well.
Neeraj Chopra could end India's medal drought in athletics
India is banking on Neeraj Chopra to end the medal drought in athletics. The 23-year-old javelin thrower broke his own national record in March this year. Chopra could return with a medal this time as defending Olympic champion Thomas Roehler has pulled out. Although Chopra has a personal-best throw of 88.07 metres, most of his rivals have topped the 90-metre mark.
Can Indian men's hockey team sail through?
The Indian men's hockey team has shown consistency in recent times. In the FIH Pro League, Team India finished fourth, having beaten several top nations. Placed in Group A at the Tokyo Games, the Indian team will take on New Zealand in the first match. Notably, the Indian men's hockey team last won an Olympic medal in 1980 (gold in Moscow).
A look at the other contenders from India
India's shooting duo of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker will vie for a medal in the 10m Air Pistol mixed team event. Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who won bronze at the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships, could be the dark horse in 49 kg category. Having won three gold medals at the Archery World Cup in Paris (2021), Deepika Kumari could return with an Olympic medal.