India’s chances at Olympics: 17 medals; watch out for these hopefuls

With a 228-member-strong contingent, its largest ever, India will surely look to raise its medals tally at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

The country’s sportspersons will participate in 18 events out of the 33 in Olympics 2021, and with many looking in good form, there is a high chance of them bringing medals home.

Gracenote, a platform that specialises in sports data and stats, has projected that India could win 17 medals in the Olympics, which would have 4 golds, 5 silvers and 8 bronze, and finish in the top 20 of 30 countries.

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India is expected to win 8 medals in shooting, 4 in boxing, 3 in wrestling and 1 each in archery and weightlifting in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The Virtual Medal Table is prepared on the basis of results from previous Olympics, World Championships and World Cups, with more focus on recent events and performances.

Here is a look at India’s probable medallists and why you should watch out for them.

SHOOTING

1.Elavenil Valarivan

Elavenil Alarivan is currently ranked World No. 1 in the Tokyo Olympics and World No. 12. Her first shot at glory came when she won 3 gold medals in the ISSF Junior World Cup 2018 and one gold in the 2019 Junior World Cup. At the senior level, she won a silver in the 2018 ISSF World Championships and a gold at the ISSF World Cup in 2019.

2. Saurabh Chaudhary & Manu Bhaker (Mixed team event)

Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker are likely to bag India a medal in the 10m Air Pistol mixed team event. While they are strong contenders in their respective individual events, they are higher chances of them making a podium finish in the mixed event. The duo has already won 5 gold medals in 5 tournaments that they competed in together.

3.Yashaswini Singh Deswal

Yashaswini Singh Deswal who won gold in the 10m Air Pistol event at the recently concluded ISSF World Cup is set to make her Olympics debut as the World No. 1.

Having won several silver and bronze medals, Deswal struck gold at the 2016 South Asian Games and again at the 2017 ISSF Junior World Championships. In the senior category, she finished fourth in the women’s 10m Air Pistol at the 2018 ISSF World Cup and won gold in the same event in 2019.

4.Divyansh Singh Panwar

Divyansh Singh Panwar secured an Olympic berth after he won silver in the 10m air rifle event at the 2019 ISSF World Cup. Panwar has 6 gold medals, 2 silver and 1 bronze at the international level. He has also been a good team player, winning medals with Hriday Hazarika and Shahu Mane, Elavenil Valarivan and Shreya Agarwal.

BOXING

1.Amit Panghal

Amit Panghal will be ranked World No. 1 in Men’s 52 kg boxing, having won the gold in the 2020 Boxing World Cup. He had won gold on his debut at the National Boxing Championships in 2017. In 2018, he won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games.

He also won gold at Asian Boxing Championship 2019 and a silver at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships.

2.Mary Kom

Mary Kom’s bronze at the 2012 London Olympics is still unforgettable. Her experience is expected to bring home another medal this time. She has been rocking the world stage by winning at 8 AIBA World Boxing Championships–6 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze–since its inception in 2001.

Such consistent feats have helped her rise to no.1 in the AIBA world rankings for flyweight. She was also the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Games in 2014 and at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

WRESTLING

1.Bajrang Punia

Bajrang Punia is a freestyle wrestler who is currently ranked number 1 in the 65 kg weight category. He is the only Indian wrestler to have won 3 medals at the World Wrestling Championship. He has also won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, in addition to silver and bronze at the 2018 and 2019 editions of the World Championship.

2.Deepak Punia

Deepak Punia, named the UWW World Junior freestyle wrestler of the year, is another strong contender for India in the 86kg category. He bagged gold in the World Junior Championships, silver in the 2019 Senior World Championships, by virtue of which he secured an Olympic quota. He also has 2 bronze medals at the Asian games and 1 gold at the World Cadet Champions.

3. Vinesh Phogat

Vinesh Phogat, who hails from a popular family of wrestlers and is currently ranked World No. 1 in the women’s freestyle 48kg category, is the first Indian woman wrestler to have won gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2014 Asian Games. She also bagged a bronze in the 2019 World Championship.

ARCHERY

Deepika Kumari

Ace archer Deepika Kumari who established herself as the World No. 1 in the recent Archery World Cup, shot her way to the top after securing a hat-trick of gold medals at the women’s recurve archery event at the World Cup. She is all set to bring home the Olympic gold for India.

WEIGHTLIFTING

Saikom Mirabai Chanu

Saikom Mirabai Chanu will be India’s lone representative in weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She will be competing in the Women’s 49kg category. She had won back-to-back gold medals at the 2017 World Championship and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in the 48kg category.

She is currently the fourth best weightlifter in the world in the new 49kg category and will be the 2nd best in Olympics, courtesy of two other weightlifters dropping out.

If India’s athletes manage to turn the projections on paper into reality, this could be India’s greatest spectacle as the nation has previously won just 28 medals, since it first began participating in the Olympics in 1900.

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