Prediction for India's medal tally at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Tokyo Olympics 2020 could be the best-ever Olympics in the history of Indian sports. It suffices to say the number of feasible medal winners and the number of disciplines that India is now equipped to mount a challenge in has seen a significant jump since the Rio Olympics.
In a year leading to the world's most prestigious quadrennial extravaganza, the Olympics, one cannot help but be glued to our athletes who are putting forth their best efforts in order to make a final cut into the Indian contingent. After producing an impressive haul of six medals in the 2012 London Olympics, India slumped to winning only two medals — including a silver in badminton and a bronze in wrestling — in Rio Olympic Games about four years ago. And clearly, the significance of this year cannot be underemphasised for the Indian contingent.
While things can change either way in the next couple months, preparations so far have seen athletes giving it their all to make the Olympic cut. And if things fall just in the right place, Tokyo 2020 could be the best-ever Olympics in the history of Indian sports. It suffices to say the number of feasible medal winners and the number of disciplines that India is now equipped to mount a challenge in has seen a significant jump since the Rio Olympics where P V Sindhu and Sakshi Malik were the only medallists. If that is not what gives us hope months ahead of Tokyo, then what will?
India ranked 67th at the Rio Olympics, it sounds rational enough for India to make it to the top 30 at the 2020 Olympics considering the current form of our athletes. With that in mind, The Bridge believes it is time to polish our own crystal ball, cross our fingers, and offer up a few guesses for Tokyo 2020
Number Of Olympic Medals Predicted
5 Medals in Shooting
The young shooting brigade of the country has emerged as world-beaters by breaking a hatful of records in recent years. The country has already bagged the maximum number of Olympic quotas in the sport ever. Only if the sport had a career golden slam, both Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary would have achieved it by now.
If one claims that shooting's progress in India has caught the speed of a bullet train, youngster Manu Bhaker's achievements will be deemed the most significant. To expect a medal in 25m Air Pistol women from either Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat is not something irrational. With two golds having already secured last year, Abhishek Verma looks set to turn a new leaf in Tokyo this year. He displayed his class in what was only his first ISSF World Cup final.
It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that India has one of the most promising shooters in the world in youngster Saurabh Chaudhary Having broken his own world record a number of times, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Saurabh has won countless gold medals at World Championships and World Cups. Both Saurabh and Abhishek are top contenders to win medals at the men's 10m air pistol event. Apart from his usual 10m Air Pistol event, Saurabh will have a shot at another medal, in the mixed pistol event alongside Manu.
Coming to the rifle event, India have its stars shining in the women's 10m air rifle events, owing to the top three shooters in the world - Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela. Two of them will go to the Olympics, which heighten the medal chances for India in the respective event. In the mixed-gender event, Anjum and Divyansh Singh Panwar are expected to bring another silverware.
2 Medals in Wrestling
Last year had invariably been a peak to scale for Indian wrestling -- which is why two medals do not seem like a far-flung dream for our wrestlers. One can expect a Bajrang or a Vinesh to break the shackles and pick up medals each.
Bajrang has not only been at the top of his sport for some time now, he is physically and mentally at his best. With multiple medals in international competitions under his belt, Bajrang will not be overawed by the event.
The crop of female wrestlers led by Vinesh Phogat, if luck is on her side, can end up on the podium in Japan. Twenty-five-year-old Vinesh will be competing at the Olympics as one of the big medal favourites. She already has two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, including one in 2014 and the other in 2018. She also won a gold medal at Asian Games in 2018 and a bronze in the World Championships last year. Vinesh, who is still rankled by the Rio nightmare, will be putting her best efforts for Olympic glory in Tokyo.
1 Medal in Badminton
It was only four years ago that P V Sindhu became the toast of the nation following her silver at the Olympics. It doesn't take much for one to guess how current World No. 6 had rescued the Indian contingent from ignominy in Rio. Like in Rio, where every jump smash that fetched a point was followed by a carnal scream, should we not expect a medal from the 24-year-old? It will be no justice, if not.
With other big names having fallen by the wayside recently, it is significant that the World No. 6 steps up and fetches a medal for her country. Although Sindhu has not been at her best of late, one expects the World Championships gold medallist to capitalise on the opportunity to deliver another Olympics medal this year.
1 Medal in Weightlifting
Much has been said about Mirabai Chanu bringing a medal for India in weightlifting at the Olympics. And it is no exaggeration. In the backdrop of her recent stellar performances, it just couldn't be truer. If her World Championships' performance is to be taken into account, Mirabai is more than likely to fare well at the Olympics.
However, a medal in the discipline will be a lot dependent on the kind of competitors India will face. Should China opt-out of the category as they did in Rio, we clearly stand a high chance of finishing at the top two. Nevertheless, Mirabai's successful outings so far would trigger Indian weightlifting to a new high in Tokyo with one sure shot Olympic medal.
1 Medal in Archery
A total of four archers represented India at the Rio Olympics four years ago. With the perfect amalgamation of youth and experience, it should stand the Indian contingent in good stead in Tokyo. One can nurse expectations for one medal from either Atanu Das or Deepika Kumari, thanks to the depth and quality they possess.
Although the Indian men recurve archers couldn't make the final cut to the Rio Games, they staged an enthralling performance at the Archery World Championships last year to seal the berth at the Olympics 2020.
Deepika Kumari won gold in the women's recurve event at the Olympic qualifying Asian Archery event in Bangkok in November, beating compatriot Ankita Bhakat 6-0 in an all-Indian final. With three individual Olympic quotas for Tokyo 2020 on offer at this event, Deepika sealed the Olympic quota place in women's recurve individual category. Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari have the experience and pedigree to be counted as favourites, and who knows we may see the best of archery this year! Both Atanu and Deepika, who have been forging into a formidable pair in the recurve mixed pair event, would be at the top of that heap. Hence, a recurve mixed team medal remains a certainty. Sit back and watch them hit the Tokyo bull's eye!
2 Medals in Boxing
If boxing comes on board, there are enough instances to suggest why the undisputed mistress of the ring MC Mary Kom continues to dominate the boxing circuit even after so many years. Despite her age, one would thankfully cling to the hope that Mary Kom will bring us a medal in Tokyo. While Mary Kom is submerged in the Tokyo spirit, an Olympic medal from one of the country's greatest will only provide a new boost to the young crop of boxers.
With Indian boxing growing by leaps and bounds, India has another promising athlete in Amit Panghal. Thanks to the historic silver medal won at the World Championships. India has so far won only two bronze medals in the discipline in all the editions of the Olympic Games they have participated in. But with boxing setting new milestones each year, there is every reason to be delighted with the performances turned in by young talents. If Amit Panghal cracks an Olympic medal in Tokyo, it would not be much of a surprise to see the country jump into paroxysms of delight.