Indian athletes have been toiling very hard to qualify for the next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2020. As they have one eye on their qualification, they would be very keen on representing their country and win the medals on the global stage. Winning for your country and raising your country’s flag in glory is what every athlete dreams of.
The Government has also launched the TOPS- Target Olympic Podium Scheme to help medal prospects have better training and focus.
The magnificent and grand sporting event will have competitors from all over the world and India is one of them. Talking about India’s performance at the Olympics, they have won 28 medals and would be aiming to have a better grip on the medal tally. India has appeared in as many as 34 Olympic Games earlier and this is going to be their 35th appearance at the Olympic games. India is expected to send more than 100 athletes as a part of the deputation which would, therefore, compete with the athletes of the other nations.
As the count-down begins for the next year’s Olympic games, here are our Seven medal prospects who can win us medals and make us proud at the Global level:
#1. Bajrang Punia – Wrestling 65 Kg
World’s No. 1 wrestler and also the Asian Games gold medalist, wrestler Bajrang Punia sets eyes for the next year’s Tokyo Olympic 2020. The 25-year-old Bajrang has won gold in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well as a silver in the World Championships last year. Right now, Bajrang Punia would be focusing on the upcoming World Championships in Kazakhstan on September 14, which will serve him as the qualifier for the Tokyo Games next year. His mentor behind his back, Yogeshwar Dutt has immense experience under his belt. However, the 25-year-old Indian faced two surprise defeats against younger opponents – Takuto Otoguro and Yianni Diakomihalis at the 2018 World Championships and the Madison Square Garden this year. The losses don’t seem to affect his game as his run for the next year’s Olympics seems unstoppable. The unabated wrestler may make the count for the medals at the mega sports event next year.
#2. P.V Sindhu – Badminton
Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu has already set her eye on the next year’s Tokyo Olympics as she fights out in the middle to be at the top of the rankings. Her qualification will depend on her World’s Badminton rankings between April 29, 2019, and April 26, 2020. Two players each from men’s and women’s category will be allotted an Olympic berth if they are ranked in the top 16. PV Sindhu looks a strong contender to not just qualify for the next year’s Olympic event but a probable medal winner too. As of now she is looking for consistency in her form and avoids injuries. The world No. 5 knows very well that she has a lot on her plate to give a tough competition to her competitors and therefore it makes her one of the favorites to win a medal at the Global event.
#3. Neeraj Chopra – Javelin Throw
Neeraj won a Gold medal in the Javelin throw at the Commonwealth Games and also the Asian Games, also setting a National record in the process. This year he has been prone to injury following a right elbow injury in March. He is currently placed fourth in the IAAF world rankings that already makes his qualification 50 percent certain, while the rest of the qualification would be based on the minimum eligibility criteria for athletes that will be recorded at competitions between 1 May 2019 and 29 June 2020. Neeraj Chopra will certainly make into the 12-man final cut, in Tokyo. He is aware of the tough competition that lies ahead and understands the need to produce his best throws throughout the season. He would be hoping for a gold medal and if not that then he would certainly bring in Silver or bronze.
#4. Manu Bhaker & Saurabh Chaudhary – Shooting (10m mixed pistol)
The teenaged duo has been exceptional in the recent mixed shooting events. The spearheading Indian duo won the gold medal in the 10m air pistol mixed team event of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi in February. The young pair shot a total of 483.5 to finish on top of the podium to finish the tournament with a flourish. The teenage Indian shooting stars also smashed the qualification world record by clinching the 10m air pistol mixed team gold in the 12th Asian Air-gun Championship in Taiyuan, Taipei. The 17-year-old Manu and 16-year-old Saurabh have won three World Cup gold medals in four months. They will be making their debut at the Olympics in the next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics. Seeing their performances in recent times, they will be participating in individual events as well. Manu Bhaker won multiple medals at top global events, she finished third in the qualification round with a total of 582 points (28 x inner 10s), shooting a solid 98 in the last two rounds. While Saurabh Chaudhary won the Olympics quota in men’s 10-meter air pistol with his performance in the World Cup at Beijing. The youngsters find themselves in the deserving positions to compete at the global level competition and glorify India’s name by winning a medal at the Tokyo Summer Games 2020.
#5. Apurvi Chandela – 10 m Air Rifle
The 26-year-old Apurvi Chandela has already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by finishing fourth in the women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF World Championship in September last year (2018). She has a lot of potentials to unleash, which she displayed in the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, where she won gold in the 10m air rifle event, with a score of 252.9, also creating the World record in the process.
She is certainly one of the hopefuls to win India a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
#6. Shiva Thapa – Boxing 63Kg
After becoming India’s first gold medalist at the President’s Cup boxing tournament, four-time Asian medalist Shiva Thapa emphasized that he will “leave no stone unturned” to achieve his goal at the much-awaited multi-sport event – 2020 Summer Olympics – to be held in Tokyo, Japan. He will be competing in the 63 Kg category, and four-time Asian medalist Shiva Thapa says he finds it easy to adapt, which will now enable him to focus more on winning the medals than just qualifying and playing the games in the Olympics. He is a buoyant boxer for his country and is expectant to win a medal for India at the Olympics next year.
#7. Vinesh Phogat – Wrestling 53 Kg
Vinesh Phogat just can’t stop herself from obsessing over the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is no doubt that she has been one of the brightest medal prospects. Vinesh won a bronze medal in 48 Kg category during the Asian Wrestling Championships. She also won a gold medal in women’s freestyle 48 Kg category at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Vinesh has been winning medals every year. Wrestling has always been one of India’s best medal hopes at the Olympics. But in the recent past, the wrestlers haven’t been able to deliver on their promise. But now the scenario has changed with the selection of Vinesh Phogat for Tokyo Olympics next year and she is being touted as one of the medal winners.