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Not the Olympics | Day 2: Shooters carry high hopes of medals

Not the Olympics | Day 2: Shooters carry high hopes of medals

Md Imtiaz

Published: 25 July 2020 4:06 AM GMT

Four months after the International Olympic Committee and officials in Japan postponed the Games amid soaring coronavirus infection rates and lockdowns across the world, uncertainty prevails. The unpredictable nature of the virus is making it impossible for officials to say definitively that the Games will happen or, if they do, what they might look like. Though we are missing the fervour of the quadrennial event, we are soaked in the Olympic spirit. For the next two weeks, we will be writing a series of article with the title “What if Olympic Happened”, where we will hypothetically discuss the day-wise performances of the Indian athletes, which were actually scheduled in the Olympics 2020 roster.

Day 2: 24 July 2020

Today would have been the second day at the Olympics, where Indians would have taken part in three medal events (if they could make it into the final rounds).


With as many as 15 Indian shooters having secured quota places, India is all set to send its largest-ever shooting contingent to Tokyo. On the second day of the Games, three shooting events were scheduled for India - Skeet, 10m pistol men's and 10 pistol women's.

Angad Veer Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan Angad Veer Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan

In the skeet event, Indian shooters Angad Veer Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan earned Olympics Tokyo quotas as they won gold and silver, respectively in the skeet event of Asian Shooting Championships in Doha. While Angad shot 56 in the final, Mairaj also finished shooting 56. They both were engaged in a shoot-off to clinch the top honours at the tournament, where Angad won the shoot-off 6-5. In the national championship thereafter, Angad shot a world record score of 60 out of 60 in the final to beat Mairaj to the gold, after the latter shot a perfect 125 in qualification. In the current uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Angad and Mairaj responded in different ways in the final selection trials for Tokyo Olympics. The 24-year-old Angad kept his composure to shoot 121 out of 125, while the 44-year-old Mairaj slipped to 115.

Divyansh Singh Panwar Divyansh Singh Panwar

In 10-metre men's pistol event, the baton would have been carried by 17-year-old Divyansh Singh Panwar and 32-year-old Deepak Kumar. World no. 1 shooter in 10-metre air rifle, Divyansh has showcased his mettle to attain the spot at such a young age. Before the lockdown, he had dominated the European circuit, preparing for the season by winning six gold medals from seven competitions spread over three countries. In 2019, he claimed silver at the Beijing World Cup along with India’s fourth Tokyo quota spot. Paired with Anjum Moudgil in the mixed team event at the World Cups, he won gold in Beijing, in Munich and bronze in Rio de Janeiro. On the other hand, Deepak Kumar had won a bronze medal in November last year in the 10m men’s Air Rifle event at the 14th Asian Shooting Championships held in Doha. The 2018 Asian Games silver medallist had a setback when he posted some below-average scores and finish 34th (Delhi WC) and 57th (Beijing WC). The Tokyo Olympics could have provided him this year, an opportunity to shine at the big stage.

Manu Bhaker Manu Bhaker (Source: Doordarshan)

Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Singh Deswal would have been India's flagbearers in 10-metre women's pistol event, where the chances of winning medals were quite high. Bhaker, who secured an Olympic quota for India, enjoyed a successful season last year when she won five World Cup gold medals in individual and team events. World no. 2 in her category, Manu has thrived under pressure showed the world how competitive she could be since winning a podium finish at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018. Deswal, secured an Olympic quota in shooting, upstaging the women’s 10m air pistol’s numero uno shooter Olena Kostevych of Ukraine for gold in the ISSF World Cup, Rio De Janeiro. Her perseverance of getting tough at equally tough moments is commendable, which makes her medal prospect at the Olympics.

Chances of winning meals: 85%


India already has four archery representatives who have already earned a quota place for the Games. With Deepika Kumari being the only female archer of the group, India can field a team in the mixed team and men’s team events besides the individual categories. However, Day 2 of the Olympics had women's team event in the roster. Though the team was yet to qualify for the Olympics, there was a high probability they could with the other two players Bombayala Devi and Komalika Bari in the contention. The women’s recurve team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics and were beaten by Russia.

Bombayla Devi Laishram (Source: Facebook) Bombayala Devi Laishram (Source: Facebook)

Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Deepika Kumari has had a largely forgettable 2019, finishing ninth in the 2019 Berlin Archery World Cup as well as the 2019 Antalya World Cup. Her last gold medal at a major competition came in the 2018 Salt Lake City Archery World Cup. Despite her poor form of late, Kumari has time and again shown her class and quality on the big stage and has six World Cup gold medals to her name. She claimed a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 test event a few months back, rising to the occasion when called upon. The former world no. 1 archer won gold in the women’s recurve event at the Olympic qualifying Asian Archery event in Bangkok, beating compatriot Ankita Bhakat 6-0 in an all-Indian final.

Bombayala Devi is a veteran of three Olympic Games and a winner of 13 Archery World Cup medals. She, however, is still chasing an Olympic podium finish. She made her debut at the Olympics in Beijing 2008, where the Indian team was beaten in the quarterfinals by China. In the London Olympics of 2012, she was ousted in the second round of the women’s recurve event and was part of the Indian team that suffered a shock first-round exit at the hands of the Danish team. She fared significantly better in the women’s individual recurve event at Rio 2016, winning her first and second-round matches before bowing out in the round of 16.

Komalika Bari Komalika Bari (Source: World Archery)

Komalika Bari, 17, etched her name in history books last year as she became just the third Indian to win the gold medal at the World Archery Youth Championships. Komalika, who was 15th after the ranking round, got a bye and beat five opponents — including two Koreans and a Japanese — to bag the title in the recurve cadet event at the championships in Madrid. With form by her side, it would still be difficult for her to perform under pressure at a grand event like th Olympics.

Chances of winning medal: 50%


Jeremy Lalrinnuga Jeremy Lalrinnuga (Source: Facebook)

Weightlifting’s Olympic qualifying schedule went haywire due to the Covid-19 pandemic but India’s Mirabai Chanu was a sure-shot for the Tokyo Games if they were held this year. Apart from Mirabai, there were some bleak hopes for youngster Jeremy Lalrinnunga to qualify. The youth Olympics gold medallist weightlifter. After winning the Youth Olympics gold in Buenos Aires in October 2018, Jeremy, who increased his body weight a year ago, has successfully graduated from junior to elite level by taking part in some top events. In the World Championships in Pattaya in September last year, Jeremy did a total of 296kg – 41kg away from gold medallist Chen Lijun of China – to finish 21st. Here, he lifted a total of 299kg, including the National record of 167kg in clean and jerk, but was eight kg short of his mark of 140kg in the snatch. He had a lot to catch up, and expecting a medal from him would have too much. Tokyo Olympics could be the ground where Jeremy gets a feel of what to expect from himself in the future.

Chance of winning medal: 30%

Graphical representation Graphical representation

Other events on day 1 and possible contenders:

Table Tennis

Men Singles RD2: Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

Women Singles RD2: Manika Batra

Mixed Doubles QF/SF: Sharath Kamal /Manika Batra


Men pool A: India vs Australia


Men Singles Group play: Sai Praneeth

Women Singles Group play: PV Sindhu

Men Doubles Group play: Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty


Women's Fly (48-51kg) RD 32: Mary Kom

Women's Welter (64-69kg) RD 32: Lovlina Borgohain

Men's Middle (69-75kg) RD 32: Ashish Kumar

Men's Super Heavy (+91kg) RD 16: Satish Kumar

Also read: Not the Olympics | Day 1: Shooters, Archers & Weightlifter brace for medals

Also read: UPDATED: Indian athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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