The countdown for the Tokyo Olympics is underway after the one-year delay owing to the coronavirus pandemic that is still looming large. Following almost a year-long hiatus, athletes are slowly making their return into sports with the aim of attaining glory at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.
India is aiming to send one of its biggest contingents ever to the Tokyo Olympics, including a few who are among the best in the world. And before the action begins in Tokyo, predictions are going to pour in from all corners. From how many medals India will win in Tokyo to which athlete will win which colour, people are trying to predict everything! In that beat, here we will try to make some predictions of our own, and the predictions that are bold.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to malign or underestimate any athletes' capabilities.
- PV Sindhu will NOT win a medal in Tokyo
India's ace badminton player PV Sindhu's inconsistent form could mean that one of India's most favourite medal prospects could return home empty-handed. Sindhu though showed her mettle recently, reaching the finals of the Swiss Open, followed by a semifinal entry into the All England Open Badminton Championships. But if one takes a look at her form, it is not easy to see that her consistency has dipped enormously.
Beating Tai Tzu Ying could prove to be extremely difficult for Sindhu. Moreover, the Olympics are being held in Japan this year which means the Japanese shuttlers will get the added advantage of playing at home. The likes of Akane Yamaguchi, Nozomi Okuhara will be looking to give their all to win a medal at home. Then, there are the Chinese and Korean shuttlers who have been doing all so well in the international circuit.
- Satwik-Chirag pair to win a medal
The men's doubles badminton pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won the Thailand Open Super 500 and became the first Indian men's doubles pair to win a Super 500 title after they beat the then reigning world champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen. The duo then made the final of the French Open Super 750 event and broke into the top 10 in the world - also the first Indian men's doubles pair ever to do so.
Chirag and Satwiksairaj had climbed several places to a career-best ranking of world No. 7 in 2019. Following the COVID-19 break in 2020, the pair reached the semi-finals of two tournaments out of the four they played in 2021. With the ability to pull off surprises, Satwik and Chirag are poised to display a good result in Tokyo and if luck prevails, a medal is not a distant dream.
- Indian men's hockey team finishes on the podium
Going by the form India men's hockey team has a realistic chance of clinching a medal at the Olympics. Alright, this might be debatable, this might be tough, but I believe the Indian hockey team will go on to get back a historic medal, after a gap of 40 years.
Currently ranked no. 4 in the world, the Men in Blue have been in the blazing form off late. In the FIH Hockey Pro League, they have beaten the top three teams in the world in Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands. The squad has the perfect blend of youth and experience and after several years, they are looking like real contenders.
- First athletics medal for India
India has been long starving for a medal in athletics, which might be achieved this year. Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and long jumper Sreeshankar Murali has given us hopes, which can translate into medals at the hallowed ground. It is not a hidden fact that athletics is one of the disciplines which has the most number of medal events and as a result, the Indian federations and associations have been at it to produce a medallist in that field.
Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra threw an attempt of 88.07m to create a new national record in the javelin throw event at the Indian Grand Prix 3 at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala. As he is trying to reach the 90m mark, the possibilities look more encouraging.
The 21-year-old Shreeshankar set a national record after making a jump of 8.26 metres in his final attempt at the Federation Cup and as a result, he attained qualification for the Olympics. Sreeshankar, who ranks 15th in the world presently stands in the leading position in 2021 (when the article is being written) with the jump been equalled by Steffin McCarter.
India will look for another medal hunt through its mixed relay team lead who won the Tokyo Olympics berth at the 2019 IAAF World Championships
- Biggest medal tally in shooting
Indian shooters have kept on dominating the world circuit with some extremely well performances in the ISSF World Cups. Shooters like Saurabh Chaudhury, Manu Bhaker, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Anjum Moudgil, Abhishek Verma have time and again consistently performed over a couple of years, thus making them some of the best bets to win multiple medals in the Tokyo Olympics.
- Long wait for medal ends for Indian archers
Indian archers have long been waiting for their deserving medal at the Olympics. Deepika Kumari who had been the world no. 1 archer, had to miss out on her medal dreams in London 2012 and Rio 2016. With her making into the team once again, Dipika will be bringing experience with her to win India's first-ever medal in archery in the women's individual category and also probably in the mixed team event with her husband Atanu Das.
- Mary Kom's dream of winning Olympic gold remains unachieved
The Tokyo Olympics will be the swansong of India's all-time greatest pugilist and six-time world champion Mary Kom. For the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics would have been the fitting crown for the Manipuri. However, going by her present form and analysing her competitors in the 51kg weight category, a top finish in the podium would be a daunting job for her who is also catching up with her age.
- Sania Mirza chases down elusive Olympics medal
India's Sania Mirza said the elusive dream of winning a medal at her fourth Olympics in Tokyo this year motivated her to return to the WTA circuit after a year-long gap. It was a disappointing outing for Mirza and her mixed doubles partner Rohan Bopanna in Rio 2016, who despite reaching the semifinals of the tournament missed the medal by a whisker. This time, Sania looks motivated and her current form could spell a medal-winning performance in Tokyo.
- India's first-ever double-digit medal tally
India's best-ever medal tally, to date, has been six which they achieved at the London Olympics. But this time, if the Olympics do happen, they have a chance to eclipse that mark and go further and who knows, they have the ability to make it to a double-digit medal tally. We could be looking at 5 medals from shooting, 2 from boxing, 2 from wrestling, 1 from hockey and that's 10 right there!