Who are India's realistic hopes for a Tokyo Olympics medal after Day 14?
(Courtesy : Times of India/Sportscafe/India Today)
A number of top athletes from the nation are still in contention for a podium finish.
The Tokyo Olympics has been a bittersweet campaign for the Indian contingent so far. Mirabai Chanu, PV Sindhu, Lovlina Borgohain, men's hockey team and Ravi Kumar Dahiya are the only participants from the nation to have won a medal till day 14. Mirabai clinched the silver medal in the women's weightlifting 49kg category. In doing so, Mirabai became the second-ever Indian weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to win a coveted Olympic medal.
Sindhu is India’s guiding light in Badminton. The current World No. 7 had a lot of expectations on her shoulders, especially after compatriots Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s failure to qualify for the Olympics. She has fulfilled those expectations by winning yet another medal.
The Rio 2016 silver-medalist began her Tokyo 2020 campaign with a dominant 21-7, 21-10 win over Israeli Ksenia Polikapova in her opening match. The 25-year-old had been boosted by the fact that her long-time rival Carolina Marin of Spain had pulled out of the Olympics due to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
Sindhu won all her matches in the group stage to comfortably cruise through to the knockout rounds. She faced a crushing defeat against Chinese Taipei's Tai-Tzu Ying in the semi-final clash. However, PV Sindhu defeated China’s He Bingjiao to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. With the victory, she also became the first-ever Indian female athlete to win consecutive Olympic medals.
Promising Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain made her Olympics debut in Tokyo. Having received a bye in the first round, Borgohain defeated experienced German Nadine Apetz 3-2 in her Round of 16 clash. Then, a victory over Nien-Chin Chen in the quarter-finals assured Borgohain of at least a bronze medal.
After a loss to Turkey's Busenaz Surmeneli in the semi-finals, the pugilist went into the bronze medal match and secured India's third Olympics medal from Tokyo.
The Indian men's hockey team, after a 5-2 defeat against Belgium in the semis, advanced to the bronze medal match, where they beat Germany 5-4 to create history. India has now won an Olympics medal in hockey after a long wait of 41 years.
Indian men’s hockey team now has three bronze medals, one silver medal and eight gold medals in the history of the Olympics. This feat have also ensured India of its fourth medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
Indian grappler Ravi Kumar Dahiya stormed into the final of the men's freestyle 57kg category at Tokyo 2020 and won the silver medal. He also became the second Indian wrestler to win the silver medal in Olympics. The The 23-year-old was beaten by Zavur Uguev of ROC in the final by a score of 7-4.
Dahiya started his campaign with a 13-2 victory over Colombian Oscar Tigreros. This was followed by another emphatic 14-4 victory over Georgi Vangelov of Bulgaria. In the semi-finals, Dahiya was 2-9 down against Kazakh wrestler Nurislav Sanayev. However, he produced a remarkable comeback and eventually won the match via a fall.
The country still has a chance to win several medals in the upcoming days. Let's take a look at India's realistic chances of winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, after the conclusion of the 14th day's action.
The Indian women's hockey team
The Indian women's hockey team created history. At the start of the tournament, nobody expected them to go beyond the group stage. But after qualifying for the quarter-finals, Rani Rampal's women caused a major upset by beating Australia 1-0.
They progressed to the semi-finals for the first time in Olympics history, where they werte beaten 2-1 by Argentina. The Eves have now advanced to the bronze medal match.
Wrestling: Bajrang Punia - Men's Freestyle 65kg
The 27-year-old will be one of India’s brightest medal prospects in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Punia will take part in the men’s freestyle 65kg category in his first-ever Olympics campaign in Tokyo.
Bajrang Punia has made rapid strides in recent years. He has won gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games as well as in two Asian Championships. Earlier in 2021, he had claimed the silver medal in the Asian Wrestling Championships at Almaty, Kazakhstan.
India’s chances of a medal or two in wrestling are high and Bajrang Punia will be one of the most eye-catching grapplers in Tokyo. Punia, who hails from Haryana’s Jhajjar district, will be hoping that his maiden campaign bears fruit and he returns home as the toast of an entire nation.
The event will take place on 6th August, at 8:00 AM IST.
Athletics: Neeraj Chopra - Men's Javelin Throw
Neeraj Chopra is widely regarded as India’s biggest medal prospect in athletics at the Tokyo Olympics. Chopra was training in Europe and participated in events in Lisbon, Karlstad and Kuortane. He delivered gold medal-winning performances in Lisbon and Karlstad. At the Kourtane Games in Finland, he came up against some of the best athletes in the world.
German Johannes Vetter, who is the favourite to win gold in Tokyo, came up with a throw of 93.59m to win the event. The Indian achieved a distance of 86.79m to clinch a bronze medal. That should give him plenty of confidence at the Tokyo Olympics.
The qualification round will take place on 4th August, at 5:35 AM IST.
Women's Golf - Aditi Ashok
Indian golfer Aditi Ashok is still going strong into Round 2 of the women’s individual stroke play category and sits tied second with a total score of 133 on day 14 of the Tokyo Olympics. She’s currently looking for a real possibility for a medal and will have to continue her good work in the coming rounds.
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