The Tokyo Olympic Games, starting on Friday, could convince be a watershed for the biggest-ever Indian contingent with shooters, boxers and wrestlers expected to steer an unparalleled medal rush.
There is palpable tension, a way of dread actually, but the Covid-hit Olympic Games starting Friday or the ‘Games of Hope’ because the IOC desperately wants the planet to believe, could convince be a watershed for the biggest-ever Indian contingent with shooters, boxers, and wrestlers expected to steer an unparalleled medal rush. The Games were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic which hasn’t bogged down the maximum amount because the world would have wanted despite the arrival of multiple vaccines. The fear of the virus is omnipresent at one of the globe’s most densely populated cities, playing host to thousands of athletes, their support staff, and officials while logging over 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases.
Only a small bunch of them are Games-related but there are enough to make sure that fear remains continuing within the event. Spectators were barred weeks back, removing the very idea of festivities that fuel the Olympic spirit.
The International Olympic Committee is trying its best to specialize in hope though and needs everyone else attempts to do”> to try to an equivalent — just try and check out the brighter side.
“It may be a recipe…for overcoming a crisis and addressing a crisis, and after the Games, that message of hope will translate into a message of confidence,” said IOC President Thomas Bach on Wednesday night.
Their eager journey of hope begins with the opening ceremony on Friday, and Bach is confident that it’ll be a “moment of joy and relief, joy in particular” when the action begins to unfold.
“…the road to the present Opening Ceremony wasn’t the simplest one. there’s a proverb that if you are feeling this type of relief, stones are falling from your heart, so if you hear some stones falling then maybe they’re coming from my heart,” he said.
His musings will have resonance in one country a minimum of. India, a nation of over 1.3 billion, has just 28 Olympic medals to its credit since making a debut back in 1900.
That tally features only one individual gold that Abhinav Bindra picked up in 2008.
The country is certainly more optimistic than before of what its 120-plus athletes in Tokyo would achieve.
The expectations are of a first-ever double-digit figure within the medals tally. The foremost among the contenders are 15 shooters. Mostly young, with significant international success to their credit within the past two years and buzzing with energy.
A 19-year-old Manu Bhaker, a 20-year-old Elavenil Valarivan, an 18-year-old Divyansh Singh Panwar, and a 20-year-old Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar are just a few names from whom medal hopes are sky-high.
They seem ready for the pressure and are available July 24, there could rather be a gold rush that India has never seen at the Games.
The jumbo shooting contingent is on one side. On the opposite may be a lone warrior — Mirabai Chanu (49kg) in weightlifting. The 26-year-old has come an extended way since failing to record one legitimate lift within the Rio Olympics five years ago.
Since then, she has been a world champion (2017) and a Commonwealth Games champion (2018) and also holds the planet record in clean and jerk.
If all goes well, hers might be among the primary medals that India would celebrate this weekend.
Another bunch to observe out for is that the archery team, led by seasoned world favorite Deepika Kumari.
Deepika would be wanting to exorcise the ghosts of the 2012 London Olympics where too, she entered because the world favorite only to misfire and return home empty-handed. With husband Atanu Das, a mixed team archery medal is being seen as a true possibility for India.
The boxers are another set of massive contenders with world favorite Amit Panghal (52kg), six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), former Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan (69kg) being the strongest medal hopes within the record group of nine that has qualified.
There are seven wrestlers within the fray and it might be viewed as nothing in need of a debacle, dare say a travesty, if the star duo of Bajrang Punia (65kg) and Vinesh Phogat (53kg) don’t find yourself on stage after dominating every tournament they need been at within the past three years.
Not to mention dark horses like Deepak Punia (86kg), who was a world championships silver-medallist in 2019 and will rather be the large star to emerge from the Games.
The two hockey teams also are getting into with a lot of optimism after decent outings in international tours of the past year.
The Manpreet Singh-led men’s team and therefore the Rani Rampal-led women’s side are in with a real chance if they hold their nerves on the large stage.
The last of India’s eight hockey gold medals came back in 1980 and for the primary time in a few years, there’s actually hope that the drought could finally end for a replacement era to start within the sport.
There is some excitement surrounding the paddlers too with the mixed team of veteran A Sharath Kamal and therefore the spunky Manika Batra being given an attempt at a medal together.
In athletics, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra could end the agony of near misses that the likes of PT Usha and therefore the late Milkha Singh endured.
World champion PV Sindhu is additionally wealthy for a second Olympic medal of her career, an achievement that might cement her place among the all-time greats of Indian sports.
In addition and maybe a symbol of India’s growth as a sporting nation, the country would have representation in fencing (CA Bhavani Devi) and equestrian (Fouaad Mirza) for the very first time.
It is also for the primary time that two swimmers (three in all) — Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj — made the Olympic cut with ‘A’ qualification marks. So, India can certainly hope that the gloom of the pandemic would be lifted by the brightness of its athletes’ performances.