As the world is still grappling through the crisis of COVID-19, sports always find a way to defuse the tension. With IPL put on hold indefinitely by the BCCI, Indian fans are now looking forward for a breather as clock ticks for Tokyo Olympics 2020. Hold on! Before you bury me for comparing cricket with any other sport, I just want to clarify, as a cricket fan myself, I do understand nothing matches the adrenaline rush when Virat Kohli hits a century or Rohit Sharma hits a massive six, but one has to admit the coveted multisport quadrennial event has its own charm. It definitely puts you on the map and gives you one more reason to be proud of your country and its people.
Finally, after a yearlong wait, Tokyo Olympics 2020 is all set to take place from 23rd July 2021.
India has a long history of participation in the distinguished games which goes back to the 1900 with just a lone participant. But today’s India seems to be all set to send the biggest contingent to Olympics so far despite COVID-19 restrictions and cancellations of various qualifiers.
We have plethora of exceptional young talent to look forward to who are making a maiden entry to the Olympics. That, coupled with a combination of highly seasoned players who have proved their mettle time and again both on domestic and international grounds.
Talking of which, Indian hockey team have dominated Olympics with a tally of 11 medals (8 golds, 1 silver, 2 bronze) from 1928 to 1980 by winning six consecutive gold medals (1928- 1956) with the last medal won in 1980 Moscow games, making it the most successful team ever globally at the Olympics. Since then, it has been a four decade Olympic draught for Indian national sport. Currently ranked No. 4 in the FIH (International Hockey Federation), the side have shown remarkable performances at the qualifier FIH league against world champions Belgium followed by Australia and Germany.
World No. 1 archer Deepika Kumari is desperately waiting for her first medal at Olympics which she missed in her Rio 2016 and London 2012 outings. She is the only individual player to be qualified in the sport. She would be accompanied by the The Indian Recurve Archery team at the Games.
Six time world champion The Magnificent Mary Kom with her grit and power is surely making her way to the second Olympic medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020. It is anticipated to be her last Olympics as well. She along with 8 other boxers have qualified for the games.
Despite the first medal won by India at the 1900 Olympics was in Athletics, it has never been India’s strong suit at the Olympics thus far. But emerging javelin throwers Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh have raised hopes this time around. The 4x400 mixed relay, which will make its debut at Tokyo 2020, will also see an Indian team, which had Asian Games gold-medalist Muhammed Anas, after they finished third at the World Athletics Championships 2019.
As many as 15 shooters have qualified for shooting including Manu Bhaker who will be a prime contender for the medal this year.
This year contingent might miss some prominent names because of various lockdowns and cancellations of qualifiers, but to compensate that many young talents like Nethra Kumanan who has become the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics, Bhavani Devi from Chennai the first Indian fencer ever to qualify for the Olympics, and Arjuna Awardee and Double Asian Games medalist in Equestrian Fouaad Mirza and many more will be players to watch out for.
India has a very strong chance to make it to a double-digit medal tally this year. Tokyo 2020 games is a perfect chance for India to compensate for its subpar performance at the Rio 2016 and recoup its glory. With India expected to participate with the largest contingent ever and additionally qualifying for multiple sports for the first time, it broadens its scope for clinching medals in various categories.