After historic medal hauls at the Olympics and Paralympics, both of which were held in Tokyo, there has been a clear paradigm shift in India's mindset when it comes to sports. The cricket-crazed country has been giving due attention and support to the wonderful athletes who participated in the games. With the spotlight on our athletes, it is imperative we talk about the upcoming youngsters who are strong contenders for a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Wrestling - Ravinder, Sanju Devi
Ravinder (L) Sanju Devi (R) (Source: InsideSport and Rediff)
The country has seen a number of prominent wrestlers, the proof of which was provided in this year's Olympics. One such young wrestler to look out for is Ravinder. He has already familiarised himself with victory after he won silver in his freestyle event at the World Junior Wrestling Championship, which was held in Russia a month back.
Another promising talent in this discipline is Sanju Devi. Like Ravinder, she had to be content with a silver in her Women's 62kg category. Despite losses in the final, we can see that wrestling will have a lot of grapplers vying for that Olympics spot three years from now.
Badminton - Rutuparna Panda
Rutuparna Panda (Source: The Field)
The 22-year-old Odisha badminton player has been in the Indian shuttler circle for quite some time now. It started with her involvement at the 2018 Asian Games as a part of the badminton contingent. Since then, she has been collecting medals in nationals as well as international competitions and proving herself in both Women's and Mixed Doubles. Her next aim would be to stake her claims at the Paris games.
Archery - Atul Verma, Komalika Bari
Atul Verma (L) Komalika Bari (R) (Source: Komalika Bari and OGQ)
Following in the footsteps of her senior Deepika Kumari, the 19-year-old archer won successive World Youth titles. From being an under-18 champion, she became the current under-21 youth champion after winning two gold medals at this year's Archery Youth World Championship. She is surely one to look out for as she has already shown her shooting skills with a recurve bow.
Another promising youth is Atul Verma, who was the bronze medal winner back in 2014 at the Youth Olympic Games Both Bari and Verma will be seen in action this month at the Yankton World Championships.
Boxing - Sachin Siwach, Sakshi Chaudhary
Sachin Siwach (L) Sakshi Chaudhary (R) (Source: Sachin Siwach and Sakshi Chaudhary)
Coming from humble beginnings, youth boxer Sachin Siwach is one such hopeful for the Paris Olympics. He rose to fame in 2016 after becoming only the third Indian to win gold at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. At the age of 21, he has had ample amount of experience, including an appearance at the World Series of Boxing in 2018, that can prove to be pivotal in his Olympic chances.
Inspired by veteran Vijender Singh to take up the sport, Sakshi Chaudhary is another youngling who is ready to box her way through to Paris. The athlete from Haryana won the gold at the 2018 AIBA Youth World Championship after winning the top honours at the Women's Youth World Boxing Championships in 2017.
Cycling - Esow Alban, Ronaldo Laitonjam
Esow Alban (L) Ronaldo Laitonjam (R) (Source: Ronaldo Laitonjam)
Dubbed as 'India's Cycling prodigy', Esow Alban has plunged the country into the spotlight after the young cyclist won the silver at the 2018 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championship. He furthered India's involvement in cycling after being a part of the men's team that bagged a historic gold in the sprint event in 2019 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championship
Another cyclist that is a promising young talent is Ronaldo Laitonjam. His limelight moment has certainly been his record-breaking performance at the Track Asia Cup in 2019, which earned him the gold.
Shooting - Hriday Hazarika, Shahu Tushar Mane
Hriday Hazarika (L) Shahu Tushar Mane (R) (Source: Capapie Sports)
The teen sensation that is Hriday Hazarika is a world record holder amongst other things. He first burst onto the scene back in 2018 when he was victorious in the 10m Air Rifle event at the Junior World Cup. Soon after, he won the ISSF World Championship held in South Korea. At the beginning of this year, he bagged the top spot in the National Shooting Selection Trial, where Hazarika's attempt was good enough to better the erstwhile World Record in 10m Men's Air Rifle.
Another youngling to grace Indian shooting is Shahu Tushar Mane. After learning his interest in the sport at an early age, he has toiled hard towards achieving his goals. He first made the news, and for good reason, after winning the bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games 2018
Weightlifting - Achinta Sheuli, Jeremy Lalrinnunga
Achinta Sheuli (M), Jeremy Lalrinnunga (R) (Source: Reliance Youth Foundation)
After Mirabai Chanu's silver at the Tokyo Olympics, people's hopes in Weightlifting will be high. With the presence of youth like Achinta Sheuli and Jeremy, these hopes will not go in vain.
Recently, Sheuli broke three national records after winning the silver medal in the Men's 73kg category at the World Junior Weightlifting Championships. On the other hand, Youth Olympics gold medallist Jeremy had narrowly missed out on a Tokyo Olympics berth. But with age and youthful exuberance on his side, he will look to book his spot on the flight to Paris.
Athletics - Shaili Singh, Priya Mohan
Shaili Singh (L), Priya Mohan (R) (Source: The Siasat Daily)
Perhaps the starlet of this bunch, who recently came into the spotlight, is long jumper Shaili Singh. The 17-year old missed the gold by a centimetre but achieved a personal best along with her silver medal at the World U20 Championships that took place last month.
In the same tournament, runner Priya Mohan came close to winning a medal after finishing fourth in the 400m event. While she did achieve a personal best with her fourth-place finish, Mohan was part of the mixed relay team that won the bronze in the 4x400m event.