10 Indian athletes who will be seen at Tokyo Olympics aged 20 and below
These Indian athletes are heading for their first-ever Olympics with a wealth of experience backing them in their pursuit of a medal.
The Indian youngsters headed to the Tokyo Olympics this year have also been former and are current world champions in various sports. From Badminton to Hockey and shooting, we take a look at all the athletes under the age of 20 who will head to the Olympics this year.
A former vice-captain of the Under 18 team that won the Bronze at the Asian Cup in 2018, Salima Tete already has a wealth of experience in both playing and leading successful teams. She was the captain of the Junior Women's hockey team that won silver at the Youth Olympics in 2019. Since then, she has been a constant feature on the senior team and the 19-year-old was duly selected as an integral member to play at the Olympics.
A gold and a silver at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games at the age of 18 put his name out there for his competitors to see. The youngster from Andhra Pradesh will be another product of the famed P Gopichand Academy to play at the Olympics. Essentially a doubles player, he will be pairing up with Chirag Shetty in the men's doubles event.
A medal favourite with every passing year, it feels like a constant need to reiterate the fact that Saurabh Chaudhary is still a teenager. He has already achieved every medal there is to win at the age of 19 and will go in with 'all guns blazing to win an Olympic Medal at Tokyo. There is not much left to say about Saurabh Chaudhary except that he has a bright career ahead of him beginning from the Olympics this month.
Just like many of her teammates, Manu Bhaker has also taken the shooting world by storm over the past few years. Multiple medal winner at various editions of the ISSF World Cup has brought her the experience she needs to put the nail in the coffin and win an Olympic Gold for India. She is highly touted to win an accolade in the 10m Pistol event and will be teaming up with Saurabh Chaudhary for the mixed team event as well.
18 years of age. Pressure has no say in a boy who has already been a World No 1 in the 10m Rifle event. From watching Apurvi Chandela as a youngster to competing alongside her at his first Olympics, Divyansh Panwar will be gunning for glory alongside the entire shooting contingent that is made up of World Champions just like him
He seemed to improve his timing with every race in the run-up to the final qualification event of the year. By the end, it was just a matter of milliseconds that was keeping him from achieving his dream. The bridge was not too far for Srihari Nataraj who finally managed to achieve the required timing had only missed out by 0.05 seconds a couple of days earlier at the Settecoli Swim Meet in Italy. He had another time trial in which he times 53.77 seconds and this was when the barrier was finally broken by the boy from Bengaluru. The 20-year-old will head to Tokyo for his first and definitely not his last aquatic meet.
Another wrestler hailing from one of Haryana's famous wrestling families is Anshu Malik. Her father and uncle were both ace wrestlers and it only seemed inevitable that Anshu would take after them. It has taken her 7 long years to achieve her dream from the age of 12 when she first suggested the idea to her grandmother. Her international experience is minimal given her age but given that she has qualified for the Olympics, her talent will speak for itself the day the 19-year-old fights her first bout.
The 19-year-old from Sonipat was also a surprise qualification this year. She was highly rated when she was younger and managed to beat Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik twice in 2020. Several of her accolades have come in Cadet World Championships and School Games. But the National Champion will not be holding her experience against her when she steps onto the wrestling mat at the Olympics for the first time ever.
The 20 year old first began shooting when he went hunting with his father and gradually became interested in competitive shooting. He took up the sport at his local range and this brought him into the Indian shooting circuit where he competes in the 10m and 50m Rifle events. He already has plenty of accolades with Gold Medals at the ISSF World Cup and bronze medals at the Asian Games along with the Eklavya Award.
She first played for the Senior Team back in 2019 as an 18 year-old. A product of the Pritam Siwach Academy, the 19-year-old already has a wealth of experience with participation in Great Britain series and the Olympic Qualifying Series as well where she scored against the USA. Her pace and agility is something to watch out for as she looks to lead the forward line for India in Tokyo this year.