3 Indian athletes going to Tokyo 2021 made their Olympics debut in Athens 2004
Tarundeep Rai, Sharath Kamal and Seema Punia made their Olympic debuts in 2004, and will also compete at the Tokyo Olympics this year
Tokyo Olympics is just around the corner, as the excitement builds up for the multi-sport event which will be held in the capital of Japan. India has a strong contingent of 119 athletes, which includes a few debutants, whereas, a few athletes will make their final appearance at the Olympics.
Among the experienced athletes, Seema Punia, Tarundeep Rai and Sharath Kamal Achanta will represent India at the Olympic Games this summer. The former has been a part of three Olympic Games in 2004, 2012 and 2016.
On the other hand, Tarundeep Rai has participated in two Olympic Games in 2004 and 2012. Hence, both athletes made their Olympic debut during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Sharath Kamal Achanta is regarded as one of India's greatest table tennis players, and Tokyo is expected to be the final destination for the experienced athlete.
A final opportunity for the Old Guard to claim an Olympic Medal
Tarundeep Rai has been one of the most consistent archers for India in the past two decades. He missed out on qualification for the Rio Olympics in 2016 but made the cut in 2004 and 2012. At London Olympics 2012, Rai finished 31st in the individual ranking round and was knocked out in the round of 32 clashes.
Tarundeep Rai qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after an impressive performance in the Archery World Cup at 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, where the Indian recurve team bagged the silver medal in the team event. The Sikkimese-born archer is all set to hang up his bow and arrow, after the Tokyo Olympics.
Seema Punia is another Indian athlete who will have one last shot at an Olympic medal this year. Seema Punia will represent India in the Discuss Throw event, which will be her fourth appearance at Summer Olympics. The 37-year old made the cut for the Olympics just in time, as she qualified for the event in late June. She recorded a throw of 63.72 m in the recently concluded National Inter-State Championship.
Seema Punia finished 13th at the London Olympics and has several accolades to her name. The Indian athlete bagged the Silver Medal at Commonwealth Games 2014 and also claimed the Gold Medal at Asian Games 2014. She also won the Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and 2018, in addition to a Bronze medal in 2010.
Sharath Kamal Achanta has competed in three Olympic Games so far, making his debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He missed out on a qualification spot for the London Olympics but sealed his qualification for Rio Olympics 2016. However, he was defeated in the first round of the Summer Olympics 2016.
The 39-year old is among the several athletes who are competing in their final Olympic Games. Kamal Achanta has 4 Commonwealth Gold Medals to his name, which includes three in the team event. He also bagged two Bronze Medals at Asian Games 2018, both in team events.