Neeraj, Kamalpreet & Sreeshankar - India's medal prospects at Tokyo Olympics in athletics
In the build up to the Tokyo Olympics, here, we bring to you the list of India's best medal bet in Athletics for the Games.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are less than a week away. A lot of the athletes from across the globe have started reaching Tokyo, for the quadrennial events. Quite a few Indian athletes including the country's star weightlifter and biggest medal hope Mirabai Chanu have landed in Tokyo for the Games.
The excitement is palpable. Sports fans in the country are waiting for the Olympics to begin, and are expecting India's first-ever double digit medal tally in the Olympics from Tokyo.
In the build up to the Olympics, here, we bring to you the list of India's best medal bet in Athletics - a sport wherein the country's lone medals came way back during the 1900 Paris Games, for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Kamalpreet Kaur was an unknown quantity until March this year. The 25-year-old shot to fame when he threw the discus to an impressive 65.06m during the Federation Cup in March, and set a new National Record in the process. This throw also ensured that she became the first India discus thrower to earn a direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
As if this throw was not enough, Kamalpreet bettered it with an unbelievable effort of 66.59m during the Indian Grand Prix (IGP) 4 in June. Though this throw was not considered as a national record due to technical reasons, it was still the best-ever throw by an Indian across genders.
The 66.59m effort is exactly what has made her one of India's brightest prospect in athletics for the Tokyo Olympics. It is the sixth best throw in this season and is ranked eighth in the Road to Olympic Games rankings. While Kamalpreet Kaur might not be a serious contender for a medal, she will certainly be right up there as a dark horse.
Murali Sreeshankar has shown some great promise over the past few years. From starting off as a sprinter and then switching to long jump, the 22-year-old has come a long way under the guidance of his father cum coach S Murali.
Hailing from the state of Kerala, Sreeshankar qualified for the Olympics when he went past the Olympic qualification standard of 8.22m and recorded a jump of 8.26m during the Federation Cup back in March this year. This was a new national record.
Sreeshankar's 8.26m is the 13th best in the world this season and puts him at the same spot in the Road to Olympic Games Rankings. While Sreeshankar himself has acknowledged that his personal best effort might not be enough to clinch a medal for India, the Indian fans will surely be glued to their television sets when he would be in action during the Tokyo Olympics.
Neeraj Chopra needs no introduction. The 23-year-old has put up some consistent performances over the last few years, and has improved his game with the each passing minute.
The Haryana lad qualified for the Olympics way back in January last year with a throw of 87.86m. He has since went past that effort with a national record throw of 88.07 at he IGP 3 in March.
Neeraj Chopra has been touted by many as India's best medal hope in athletics for the Tokyo Olympics. He is expected to end the country's medal drought in the sport, and there are definite reasons behind these expectations. His throw of 88.07m is ranked eighth in the Road to Olympic Games Rankings and fourth in the 2021 season.
Neeraj Chopra has been the poster boy of Indian athletics over the past few years, and with the Olympics just days away billions of eyes are fixated on him to deliver the goods in the coming days.
Correction: The sources of the photographs have been added