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 13: 5 August 2020
Today would have been the thirteenth day at the Olympics and India could have been a part of eight title matches.
Athletics is, without doubt, one of the most significant events of the Olympics. On Day 13 of the games, the only medal matches that were supposed to take place were Men’s 400m Final, Men’s Triple Jump Final, Men’s Shot Put Final, Men’s 20km Race Walk Final – Muhammed Anas
– Arpinder Singh
– Tajinder Pal Singh Tomar
– KT Irfan
The only contender in Men’s 400m category could have been Muhammed Anas. Becoming only the third Indian to qualify for the Olympics in the 400 metres race event, Muhammad Anas ensured all eyeballs were on him as he took the field in the event in Rio in 2016. Having clocked 45.40 seconds – the exact mark needed for the Games – in the Polish Athletics Championships, Anas failed to advance to the next round in Rio, finishing 6th in the heats with a timing of 45.95. However, that was just the start of greater feats to follow, and three years hence, the 25-year old stands as one of the most promising athletes from India.
In the men’s triple jump final and men’s shot put final, the contenders will be Arpinder Singh. Arpinder is only Indian to win a medal at IAAF WORLD CONTINENTAL Cup, he won it in 2018 and he raised to a world ranking as high as 11 in 2018, but with injuries and not much participation in world stage Arpinder struggling to even cross 16m mark. A realistic goal would be to qualify for the finals for Arpinder.
In men’s shot put final, Tajinder who is also best in Asia finished 18th (overall out of 34 competitors) with a best throw of 20.43m at World Championships. Certainly, these two are in top-25 with their standards but not likely to finish with medals if they didn’t significantly improve.
Tjinder Pal Singh Tomar. Arpinder and Tajinder, who won gold at Asian Games have a slightly better chance considering other two who lined up today.
In the men’s 20km race walking, the participant will be KT Irfan. Irfan was the first track and field athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The 30-year-old qualified for his third consecutive Olympics now. Irfan couldn’t participate at the 2016 Rio Olympics even after qualifying due to an injury. But long-distance event are unpredictable. He certainly has the capability to pull some surprises. Irfan finished 10th in London 2012 Olympics which is a decent effort.
Chances of winning a medal – 30%
Nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, making this India’s biggest-ever boxing contingent at the quadrennial event. Day 13 of the Games, would have seen Men’s Feather (52-57kg) Finals, where India’s flagbearers Gaurav Solanki/ Binduri/ Kavinder Singh Bisht/ Sachin Siwach.
Its been a 4-way even who will be representing India at 57kg. A former World Championship bronze medallist was not even in the trial draw for Olympics and Asian Games silver medallist Kavinder was eliminated in national trials. So, it will be interesting to see who participated in World Qualifiers for India in this category.
Chances of winning medal: 10%
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 13, Men’s Freestyle 57 kg Repechage/Bronze/Final (Ravi Dahiya),
Men’s Freestyle 86 kg Repechage/Bronze/Final (Deepak Punia)
Women’s Freestyle 57 kg Repechage/Bronze/Final (Pooja Dhanda/Sarita Mor) were scheduled.
Deepak Punia and Ravi Dahiya will be dark horse for India at wrestling while Bajrang and Vinesh playing the favourite cards. Being already qualified, for both, it is all about keeping the form and fitness for the Olympics. A Junior Champion, Deepak Punia is just starting his senior career but he already achieved what many couldn’t, a medal in senior world championships. A wrestler who will India see a lot in future and without a doubt, he will be an outsider to win a medal in Olympics. Ravi Sahiya, a bronze medallist in World Championship and a gold medallist at Asian Championship is a top-5 boxer in his weight category.
Chance of winning medal: 75%
One of the dark horses of the Indian contingent for Olympics would be the Indian men’s hockey team, who are in stupendous form off late under the reigns of coach Graham Reid. On day 13 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Indian team could have played their 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.
Chances of winning medal: 75%