Toughest Competitors for India’s Medal Prospects At 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Matthew Centrowitz

Indian athletes are slowly and steadily qualifying for the next year’s mega Olympics events that will be held in Tokyo from 24th July to 9th August in 2020.

Till now more than 10 athletes from India have qualified for the Olympics. Not just the qualification, but the road to winning the medal for the country is not easy for those athletes. Some of our Indian athletes who have qualified or are certain to qualify have a tough competition lying ahead in the next year’s mega sports event. For winning the medal, the cut throat competition is what it is going to take from the athletes. It is going to be a great exposure for some of our athletes who will be appearing for the Olympic Games for the first time. Our Indian athletes are going to face some tough challenges from their foreign contenders.

Here is our list of the foreign athletes, who can pose a tough competition to our Indian athletes in the next year’s Tokyo Olympics: 

1) Nozomi Okuhara- Badminton Women Singles

2020 Tokyo Olympics

The rivalry between India’s PV Sindhu and Japan’s single badminton specialist Nozomi Okuhara could be an exciting one, if the fixture in the upcoming Olympic games will have the clash of both the players. After seeing the current forms of PV Sindhu and Nozomi in just concluded BWF Championship this year, it is certain that both the players will get a berth for the Tokyo Summer games for the next year.

PV Sindhu recently beat her Japanese contender Okuhara in the BWF World cup last month with a dominant score of  21-7, 21-7 in both the sets as she avenged her loss of 2017. PV Sindhu had won Silver medal in the Rio Olympics in 2016 while Nozomi Okuhara bagged a bronze in the same event. The contest between is going to be intriguing as Nozomi Okuhara is the perfect and one of the toughest contender who can compete PV Sindhu on her road to her Olympic Gold medal. 

2) Matthew Centrowitz Jr. – 1500m Middle Distance

2020 Tokyo Olympics

The American middle distance runner specializes in 1500 meters sprinting. The experienced runner won a Gold medal in 2016, Rio Olympics. He has a lot of talent to unleash as the next year’s Summer Olympics is approaching. India’s Jinson Johnson recently qualified for the next year’s Summer Olympics by winning a silver medal at the ISTAF Berlin event. Given that the Indian athletes are steadily qualifying for the Olympics, competition awaits them. American Matthew Centrowitz Jr. has high chances to win the medals and can be a threat to Jinson Johnson’s winning the medal for India. It seems that the competition between the two is going to be very close as both are training very hard to improve their timings on the track. 

3) Nicola Adams – 51 Kg Women’s Flyweight Boxing

2020 Tokyo Olympics

The British professional boxer is one of the toughest contender in the 51 kg flyweight boxing Women’s category. Nicola Adams became the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at London in 2012. Her hunger for another Olympic didn’t stop as she went on to win another gold medal in Rio Olympics in 2016. From India, Mary Kom won the Bronze medal in 51Kg flyweight category in London Olympics held in 2012. Her competence level has been touching heights as she has leveled up her game through the years. Mary Kom has high chances of qualifying for the next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics. There are high chances of Nicola Adams and Mary Kom clash and it is going to be very exciting who excels to win the gold medal. 

4) An San  – Archery

2020 Tokyo Olympics

The 18 year old An San from Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a new sensation in the world of Archery. She dispatched former world no.1 Deepika Kumari of India comprehensively in straight sets, and could be the player to beat next summer. Deepika Kumari is  yet to qualify for the next year’s Summer Games but as of now, An San can be a threat to India’s chances of winning a medal in the Individual Archery event. An San won the gold medal in the Tokyo test event is enough to mark her presence in the next year’s Summer Games in Tokyo. 

5) RI Song Gum- 48 Kg Women Weightlifting

2020 Tokyo Olympics

North Korean weightlifter is currently ranked no. 1 in the 48 kg category. She is yet to qualify for the next year’s Summer Games but taking the qualification eligibility into consideration, she already ranks no. 1 and is sure to make her selection happen. India’s Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is placed just behind RI Song in the rankings. The competition between the two in the 48 kg weightlifting category is going to be very spell binding as both the athletes are training very hard to increase their weight lifting capacity.

The 21 year old has a lot of strength as she can pose great threat to Mirabai Chanu on her road to win a medal in the Olympic Games. Mirabai lifted 86kg in snatch and a personal best of 113kg in clean and jerk for a total of 199kg in the women’s 49kg event. On the other hand, RI Song Gum’s personal best was when she lifted 87kg in snatch with a clean jerk of 112kg being her highest taking it to a total of 199 kg in the Asian Games held in Indonesia. Seeing the personal records of both the athletes, we can say that they are evenly matched and have equal chances of winning the medal in next year’s Olympic Games. 

6) Soslan Ramonov- 65 Kg Freestyle Wrestling

Soslan Ramonov

The Russian won a Gold medal in 2016 Rio Olympics and he can be an automatic selection in the next year’s Tokyo Olympics seeing his current form as he is ranked among the top. India’s Bajrang Punia who is also in a very good form is currently ranked no. 1 in the world rankings will be having a tough opposition in the form of Soslan Ramonov in the next year’s Summer Olympics. Bajrang Punia who’s coach is veteran Yogeshwar Dutt has a lot to unleash in Tokyo next year but Soslan already has a Gold medal and an experience of Olympic event. He has that experience and probably that makes him a strong contention to Bajrang Punia in the race of winning medals at the prestigious world platform. 

7) Major Veronika- 10 m Air Pistol Women

Major Veronika

The 22-year-old Hungarian Shooter became the most successful athlete of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi as she won her second medal in two days. The Hungarian athlete is the only double gold medalist in the ISSF World Cup. She has a great chance of qualifying for the next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics. From India, Yashaswini Singh Deswal has recently qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and may face a tough competition from the Hungarian. Both of them are young and will be getting the Olympic games exposure for the first time. Following their recent success in the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, they both have gained a pass to the Tokyo Olympics 2020

8) Thomas Rohler- Javelin Throw 100m

Thomas Rohler

The 27 year old German track and field athlete who has won a Gold medal in 2016 Rio Olympics in 100m category. After that he went on to win back to back medal at the World stage in Javelin Throw events. His most remarkable record of Gold medals in 2018 European Championships and 2018 Continental Cup has made him a tough contender for the next year’s Summer Games. India’s Neeraj Chopra who is among India’s biggest medal hopefuls in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Currently, Neeraj is recovering from his elbow injury has been appreciated by the veteran Thomas Rohler who said that Neeraj has a lot of potential that too at a very young age but also said he shall be aware of the competition lying ahead. 

9) Simone Biles- Artistic Gymnast

Simone Biles

The 22 year old Simone Biles has made her country Great Britain proud on various occasions by winning 4 Gold and 1 Bronze medals in Olympic Games. Simone Biles has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and ready to give some tough competition to the other gymnast. For India, Dipa Karmakar is hopeful of winning a medal for the country in the next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Dipa is currently struggling due to injury, she is likely to make a comeback in order gain herself Tokyo Olympics pass. It would be interesting to see the competition between the two if Dipa makes it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

10) Shakur Stevenson- 56Kg Boxing

Shakur Stevenson

The 22 year old American Professional boxer won a gold in Rio Olympics in 2016. He is considered one of the toughest contenders to beat at the world sporting event. India’s boxer who is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics is going through a good phase of his form as he is injury free and also training hard to qualify for the next year’s Summer games. Shiva Thapa is currently preparing for the President’s Cup that will be held in December this year. Shiva Thapa is yet to win any medal at Olympics whereas, Shakur Stevenson already has the experience of the Olympics event winning a silver medal in Rio Olympics. He is going to be a tough competition for India’s Shiva Thapa in the next year’s Tokyo Games. 

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