In a year leading to the world’s most prestigious quadrennial extravaganza, the Olympics, one cannot help but be glued to our athletes who are putting forth their best efforts in order to make a final cut into the Indian contingent. After producing an impressive haul of six medals in the 2012 London Olympics, India slumped to winning only two medals — including a silver in badminton and a bronze in wrestling — in Rio Olympic Games about four years ago. And clearly, the significance of this year cannot be underemphasised for the Indian contingent.
While things can change either way in the next couple months, preparations so far have seen athletes giving it their all to make the Olympic cut. And if things fall just in the right place, Tokyo 2020 could be the best-ever Olympics in the history of Indian sports. It suffices to say the number of feasible medal winners and the number of disciplines that India is now equipped to mount a challenge in has seen a significant jump since the Rio Olympics where P V Sindhu and Sakshi Malik were the only medallists. If that is not what gives us hope months ahead of Tokyo, then what will?
India ranked 67th at the Rio Olympics, it sounds rational enough for India to make it to the top 30 at the 2020 Olympics considering the current form of our athletes. With that in mind, The Bridge believes it is time to polish our own crystal ball, cross our fingers, and offer up a few guesses for Tokyo 2020
Number Of Olympic Medals Predicted
5 Medals in Shooting
The young shooting brigade of the country has emerged as world-beaters by breaking a hatful of records in recent years. The country has already bagged the maximum number of Olympic quotas in the sport ever. Only if the sport had a career golden slam, both Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary would have achieved it by now.
If one claims that shooting’s progress in India has caught the speed of a bullet train, youngster Manu Bhaker’s achievements will be deemed the most significant. To expect a medal in 25m Air Pistol women from either Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat is not something irrational. With two golds having already secured last year, Abhishek Verma looks set to turn a new leaf in Tokyo this year. He displayed his class in what was only his first ISSF World Cup final.
It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that India has one of the most promising shooters in the world in youngster Saurabh Chaudhary Having broken his own world record a number of times, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Saurabh has won countless gold medals at World Championships and World Cups. Both Saurabh and Abhishek are top contenders to win medals at the men’s 10m air pistol event. Apart from his usual 10m Air Pistol event, Saurabh will have a shot at another medal, in the mixed pistol event alongside Manu.
Coming to the rifle event, India have its stars shining in the women’s 10m air rifle events, owing to the top three shooters in the world – Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela. Two of them will go to the Olympics, which heighten the medal chances for India in the respective event. In the mixed-gender event, Anjum and Divyansh Singh Panwar are expected to bring another silverware.