Four months after the International Olympic Committee and officials in Japan postponed the Games amid soaring coronavirus infection rates and lockdowns across the world, uncertainty prevails. The unpredictable nature of the virus is making it impossible for officials to say definitively that the Games will happen or, if they do, what they might look like. Though we are missing the fervour of the quadrennial event, we are soaked in the Olympic spirit. For the next two weeks, we will be writing a series of article with the title “What if Olympic Happened”, where we will hypothetically discuss the day-wise performances of the Indian athletes, which were actually scheduled in the Olympics 2020 roster.
Day 11: 3 August 2020
Today would have been the eleventh day at the Olympics and India could have been a part of three title matches.
Athletics is, without doubt, one of the most significant events of the Olympics. On Day 11 of the games, the only medal matches that were supposed to take place were Men’s 400m Hurdles Final, Women’s 800m Final and Women’s 200m Final.
In the Men’s 400m hurdles final, the possible two Indian candidates would have been Jabir M P and Dharun Ayyasamy. Dharun is India’s 400m hurdles national record holder and he has already been to Olympics as a part of a relay team in 2016. It was the third time a men’s relay team from India qualified for the Olympics, after 1964 and 2000. The team got disqualified in the heats. But, Dharun came into limelight in 2018 Asian Games when he won silver and setting a new national record (48.96 seconds) and becoming first Indian to run sub 49 in 400m hurdles. Once again Dharun broke a new national record on March 2019 in the Federation Cup where he clocked 48.80. After some injury issues, Dharun came back at World Championships but only to be knocked out in 1st round whereas MP Jabir who went in Asian Championships 2019 in the absence of Dharun, won a bronze in Asiad and also made a semifinal appearance in World championships. Comparing these two, Dharun is a far better athlete but things are not clear about his injuries. Dharun has been as highest as 17 in world ranking while Jabir is 24 currently. With timing like sub 48 needed in 400m hurdles to make it to finals or win medals in world events – these two will try there best to make it to Olympics first and target a realistic goal of making it to finals.
After Tintu Luka retired, Gomathi Marimuthyu was banned for participation. As a result, no one would have represented India in Women’s 800 m final.
Lastly, India’s best bet in Women’s 200m race is Dutee Chand. Dutee has a far better world ranking when it comes to 200m than 100m – her pet event. She ended 2019 as world no.40 in 200m. Dutee’s current timing is in between 22-23 seconds. But she needs 22 sub to be in world-class bracket.
Chance of winning medal: 10%
Nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, making this India’s biggest-ever boxing contingent at the quadrennial event. Day 11 of the Games, would have seen Men’s Welter (63-69kg) Finals, where India’s sole flagbearer would have been Vikas Krishan Yadav.
If Amit Panghal is the favourite to win a medal in boxing in his category, Vikas is a dark horse for India to win a medal in boxing especially after his professional boxing experience. Vikas was just one win away from winning a medal in Rio, he was eliminated in the quarters. He also became only second Indian men boxer after Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh to qualify for three Olympics. Vikas has world championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games medals – Olympic medal is one thing he would try to achieve and Tokyo seems to be his last and golden chance. He has had a good run recently, coming back from profession circuit, he found his spot in the Indian team and in Olympic qualifier he won silver after pulling out from finals of qualifiers because of injury, but in the whole tournament, Vikas looked confident and also a strong boxer.
Chance of winning medal: 75%
Along with shooting, wrestling has been one of India’s most productive sporting disciplines at the Olympics, accounting for as many as five medals. While India is yet to finalize its wrestling contingent for Tokyo, Indian fans can expect at least four contenders at next year’s Games. On day 11, Men’s Greco-Roman 97 kg and Women’s Freestyle 68 kg finals were expected to happen.
India’s Ravi Rathee was supposed to qualify in the Greco-Roman event. Though India doesn’t expect much from his Greco-roman wrestlers to do well in big stages, Ravi Rathee is one exciting talent to watch out for, if at all he qualifies.
Divya Kakraan, who would have participated in Women’s Freestyle 68 kg competition was also expected to qualify. Kakran is one of the consistent women wrestlers in recent time. She would have already loved to sealed her place but she had a disappointing run in World championship which was so far only Olympic qualifier that has happened for Wrestling. Though Divya is 22 now and she will be 23 by next year Olympics, she has already got immense experience on her belt. She has the capacity to produce some good wins on big stages but the question is can she win 2-3 matches in a row in a big stage, which she rarely did.
Chance of winning medal: 45%
One of the dark horses of the Indian contingent for Olympics would be the Indian men’s hockey team, who are in stupendous off late under the reigns of coach Graham Reid. On day 11 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Indian team could have played their semi-final match. High hopes have been rekindled seeing the hockey team’s performance at the FIH Pro Hockey League where they played against the top three teams in the world and gave Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia a run for their money. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see India playing the semi-final of the Olympics.
Other events on day 11 and possible contenders:
Men’s Triple Jump Qualifying Round: Praveen Chitravel
Men’s 1500m Round 1: Jinson Jhonson/Ajay Kumar Saroj
Women’s Javelin Throw Qualifying Round: Annu Rani
Women’s 400m Round 1: Hima Das/ MR poovama
Women’s Long Jump Final: Sojan Ancy
Men’s Shot Put Qualifying Round: Tejinder Pal Singh Toor
Men’s 5000m Round 1: Murali Kumar Gavit/Abhisek pal
Women’s 800m Final: Twinkle Chaudhary
Men’s Fly (48-52kg) QF: Amit Panghal
Men’s Light (57-63kg) QF: Manish Kaushik
Women’s Light (57-60kg) QF: Simranjit Kaur
Men’s Greco-Roman 67 kg RD16/QF/SF: Manish
Men’s Greco-Roman 87 kg RD16/QF/SF: Sunil Kumar
Women’s Freestyle 62 kg RD16/QF/SF: Sonam Malik/Sakshi Malik
Men’s Greco-Roman 77 kg Repechage/Bronze/Final: Gurpreet Singh