Can the first 2 medal days at Tokyo be India's best-ever start at the Olympics?
The first two medal days at Tokyo, i.e. 24th July 2021 and 25th July 2021, could be the best or biggest-ever days in the Indian Olympic history. How?
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is just over a month away. Athletes from across the globe are gearing up for the biggest sporting spectacle in human history, which will kick start on 23rd July 2021, albeit in a restricted environment.
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government has already announced their decision of not allowing foreign fans into the country to watch the Games, the decision on whether to allow locals inside the stadium is still under debate due to the prevailing covid-19 induced circumstances.
The contingent from India has been a regular feature at the Olympics, ever since the 1920 Antwerp Games. So far, the country has won a total of 28 medals, including two from Norman Pritchard at the 1900 Paris Games, in its Olympic history.
Just 28 medals in more than a century of consistent appearances at the Olympics, surely, does not make for a great number. But as the 2020 Olympics near, there is an increasing excitement amongst Indian sports fans and experts that the Tokyo Games might be a bit different.
India is expected to send its biggest-ever contingent to Tokyo. Though a big contingent does not really mean more medals, or as was proven during the Rio Olympics, there is a sense of confidence around this time, both in the mind of athletes and the fans. Even the statistical organisation Gracenote had predicted a total of 17 medals for India in Tokyo, which is more than half of what the country has won over the last century!
While the prediction may or may not be true, what appears more exciting is the fact that the first two medal days at Tokyo, i.e. 24th July 2021 and 25th July 2021, could be the best or biggest-ever days in the Indian Olympic history. How?
There will be medals up for grabs in Shooting, Weightlifting and Archery – three of India's stronger suits, at the very start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India's only weightlifter to qualify for the Olympics, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, will be in action on 24th July in the Women's 49kg weight division. The 26-year-old from Manipur will start the event as a second seed behind China's Hou Zhihui. With Mirabai expected to be one of the top medal contenders in the event, she might well bag a medal for India on the very first day.
As far as shooting is concerned, multiple Indians will be in contention for a podium finish in the first two medal days. While two of the world's best pistol shooters, Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma, will be in contention in the Men's 10m Air Pistol event for India on 24th July, the duo of Manu Bhaker and Yashashwini Deswal will be in action in the Women's 10m Air Pistol along with Divyansh Singh Panwar in Men's 10m Air Rifle to earn a podium finish on 25th July.
Though India has performed exceedingly well in archery at the international level over the years, the archers from the country have failed to translate it into an Olympic medal. The Mixed Team event, which will be completed in at the Olympics for the first time, is expected to break this medal drought in the sport for India at the Olympics. The husband-wife pair of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari are expected to team up and bring home a medal for India in the Mixed Recurve Event on 24th July in Tokyo.
With some of their best athletes in action at the very beginning of the Olympics, the Indian sports fans can surely hope that their stars clinch multiple medals and provide a bumper start for the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.