The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to held from 23 July 2021 to 8 August 2021 and athletes have allready started their preparation for the marquee event of the world. Indian athletes will be gearing up for the glory and lot is expected from the Indian athletes this time around. Here’s a look at top prospects who can win gold medal for the country.
Indian men’s hockey team
With the start of now defunct- Hockey India League, Indian Hockey found some new talent and playing alongside foreign players have helped the cause of Indian team. Lot was expected from the team in 2016 Rio Olympics but they finished on a disappointing 8th spot.
Indian team is now coached by Aussie Graham Reid and invest more into new and upcoming talents which has paid dividends. The Indian team has beaten top sides like Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Argentina and Germany in the recent while and continue in their good run will bring them to the top podium finish, which last came in 1980. The team is led by mid-fielder Manpreet Singh and defenders like Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas and Birendra Lakra are the backbone of the team. Experienced SV Sunil alongside Mandeep Singh and Gurjant Singh can be devastating in the forward line. Veteran PR Sreejesh handles the goal for India.
Having burst onto the scene in 2016 with a junior world championship title, the javelin thrower, has been India’s most decorated track and field athlete in the recent years. He won gold at Asian Games 2018 with a 88.06 metre throw but his build up to 2020 Olympics has been cut short by elbow injury and pandemic situation.
A 88.07 m throw at Indian GP this year inched him closer to that elusive 90 m mark that only one man in the world hits right now. If he can maintain his performance, he can well be top contender to bag a gold at the biggest sports event of the world.
The rookie boxer rose to fame in no time after his heroics at 2018 Asian Games where he beat Rio Olympics Champion Hasanboy Dusmatov (light flyweight) in the 2018 final to help India’s national anthem play in the background as he stood at the top of the podium. For the build up to Olympics, Panghal moved to flyweight division (52kg) for Olympic qualification in 2019 and again beat Dusmatov at the Asian Championships. His biggest success came at 2019 World Championship where he bagged a silver medal.
If he continues to punch his way ahead like this, gold medal will not be too far from him in Tokyo.
He won the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in 10 m Air Pistol and became the youngest Indian gold medalist at the Asian Games. The 19-year-old from Meerut bagged 10 World Cup medals, including eight gold, shot world record scores in both junior and senior competitions in 10m air pistol and is a former world number one (Currently he is world number 2).
He will be a strong contender to bag medal in 10m men’s pistol event and strong favourites in the new mixed team format as well alongside Manu Bhaker.
The Manipuri weightlifter won a gold at World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, United States. She is the fourth best in her weight category of 49 KG and is behind two Chinese and a North Korean athlete. If she can improve her performance in snatch category, gold medal can go India’s way in Tokyo.
The current world number 2 is India’s best hope to win a gold medal at Tokyo Olympics in men’s 65 kg freestyle wrestling. He won the top prize at 2018 Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and silver and bronze at successive World Championships (2018, 2019).
He is fast, agile and hungry for more success and his Silver medal at 2021 Almaty Asian Championships is a sign of his great run of form. He is trained under Yogeshwar Dutt, himself an Olympic medallist and Punia will be hoping that he can go two steps ahead than his “coach” and bag a gold for India.