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India's heartbreaking 4th placed finishes at the Olympics

The Indians have a history of finishing fourth at the Olympics. Here, we look at all the athletes who have come agonisingly close to an Olympic medal but fell short.

Aditi Ashok, Milkha Singh, PT Usha and Abhinav Bindra

Numerous Indians have finished in the fourth place at the Olympics.


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 7 Aug 2021 8:07 AM GMT

India's star golfer Aditi Ashok finished at the fourth position in women's strokeplay today at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and missed out on a medal by a whisker.

While it was surely heartbreaking to see Aditi Ashok missing out on a podium finish after such a wonderful campaign, it certainly was not the first time an Indian has finished fourth and missed out on an Olympic medal.

The Indians have a history of finishing fourth at the Olympics. Here, we look at all the athletes who have come agonisingly close to an Olympic medal but fell short.

Indian Women's Hockey Team

Edition: 2020 Tokyo, Japan and 1980 Moscow, Soviet Union

The Indian women's team had a splendid run at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, starting with a couple of thumping losses before rising above the ashes. The Indian women put up a spirited display in the quarterfinal, defeating the heavyweights Australia 1-0 before losing their semifinal and bronze medal match against Argentina and Great Britain, respectively.

The 1980 Moscow Games was the first time the Indian women's hockey team had qualified for the Olympics. The Indians started off brilliantly, winning their first two matches against Poland and Austria but soon everything fell apart.

In their next three matches, India could not register a single win as they finished fourth after falling to a defeat against Czechoslovakia, hosts USSR and holding the eventual champions Zimbabwe to a draw.

Dipa Karmakar

Edition: 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dipa Karmakar was a star in an otherwise disappointing campaign for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Having successfully attempted the 'Produnova vault', Dipa Karmakar finished fourth in the vault segment at Rio de Janeiro.

Abhinav Bindra

Edition: 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

India's only individual Olympic medallist, Abhinav Bindra, finished fourth in Men's 10m Air Rifle at the Rio Games in 2016. Having qualified for the final in the seventh position, Bindra managed to hold his nerves till the very end before exiting the final at the fourth position with a score of 163.8.

Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna

Edition: 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 2016 Rio Olympics was a heartbreaking one for India after the highs of the 2012 London Games. The tennis mixed doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna were the third Indians to miss out on an Olympic medal by finishing fourth in Rio.

The duo started off with two wins before losing out both the semifinal and bronze medal match to return empty-handed as India's wait for their second tennis medal in Olympics continued.

Joydeep Karmakar

Edition: 2012 London, England

A shooter who competed in the 50m rifle events, Joydeep Karmakar finished fourth in Men's 50m Rifle Prone. The 2012 Olympics was India's most successful in history, and hence Joydeep Karmakar's heartbreak continues to flow under the radar.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati

Edition: 2004 Athens, Greece

The Indian tennis men's doubles pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati finished fourth at the Olympics, way before the mixed doubles pair of Mirza and Bopanna in 2016.

The 'Lee-Hesh' pair started off the tournament on a roll, winning three matches in straight sets to enter the semifinal. However, things did not go according to the plan then, and Paes and Bhupati ended up losing their semifinal and bronze medal match in straight sets, much to the dismay of Indian fans.

Kunjarani Devi

Edition: 2004 Athens, Greece

The 2004 Athens Games saw yet another Indian missing out on an Olympic podium, with the weightlifter Kunjarani Devi finishing fourth in women's 48kg division. She lifted a total of 190kgs, which was a massive 10kgs lesser than the third-placed Aree Wiratthaworn of Thailand.

PT Usha

Edition: 1984 Los Angeles, USA

The sprinting legend from the southern Indian state of Kerala, PT Usha, came agonisingly close to becoming India's first-ever woman Olympic medallist during the 1984 Los Angeles Games. The sprinting legend finished fourth, clocking 55.42 seconds in women's 400m hurdles and missed the podium by one-hundredth of a second.

Milkha Singh

Edition: 1960 Rome, Italy

Milkha Singh's heartbreak at the 1960 Rome Olympics needs no explanation. The sprinting legend, who passed away recently, missed a bronze medal in Men's 400m sprint by a mere 0.1 second. If Mikha Singh clocked 45.6 seconds, the third-placed Malcolm Spence clocked 45.5 seconds.

Indian Men's Football Team

Edition: 1956 Melbourne, Australia

The 1956 Melbourne Games was definitely the best ever show by the Indian football team at the Olympics. The Indians defeated the host nation Australia in the quarterfinals, thanks to a hattrick by Neville D'Souza, before losing to Yugoslavia in the semifinal and Bulgaria in the bronze medal match to settle for the fourth position.

Randhir Shindes

Edition: 1920 Antwerp, Belgium

The 1920 Antwerp Games was the first time that India sent a proper contingent to the Olympic Games, thanks to the efforts of Sir Dorabji Tata. While the small five-member Indian contingent failed to earn a podium finish on their debut appearance at the quadrennial event, a certain Randhir Shindes stood out.

A wrestler who competed in the featherweight section, Randhir Shindes started his campaign with a win before losing two back to back bouts – the semifinal and bronze medal match to finish fourth.

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