Indian athletes who showed promise at the Tokyo Olympics
While there have been disappointments in Tokyo, there were star performers who delivered exceptional performances to win billion hearts.
Tokyo Olympics ended on a high note for the Indian contingent with seven medals in total, their highest ever medal count at the Olympics and a 48th rank finish. The last-day miracle by Bajrang Punia and Neeraj Chopra helped India achieve its best-ever performance in the history of their appearance in the Olympics.
For all sports enthusiasts, every day used to bring joy, sadness, heartbreaks and a rollercoaster of emotions, there were some phenomenal performances that did not win a medal but won billions of hearts.
They showed great intent and promise for the future as India witnessed new dawn for sports. Let us look the promising performances by Indians, who though did not win medals, but showcased brilliance at the Games.
1. Indian women's hockey team
A valiant effort from the Indian women's hockey team to reach the 4th spot was commendable. Every Indian fan applauded their run in the entire tournament. Being subjected to a 3-0 loss margin in the initial rounds, they made a comeback to reach the quarters, then defeated the dominant Aussies and put up a brave show against Argentina and Great Britain.
In their bronze medal match, they gave it all to make a comeback from 2-0 down to a final scoreline of 4-3. The powerful efforts of the team have started a new revolution for all young girls picking up their hockey sticks and they are favorites to perform amazingly well in the upcoming tournaments and fortunately, bag an Olympic medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
2. Aditi Ashok
The young Indian sensation in golf, Aditi Ashok took the limelight after she finished in 2nd position on 3 days of consecutive days of golf. She missed out on an Olympic podium finish by just a shot on the last day but her 100% efforts have inspired millions of people to take the game seriously as golf isn't prevalent in India.
With finishes like 42nd, 56th and 50th from her compatriots in golf, Aditi's show to give a fight to World No. 1 and other world leaders is admirable. Her 4th place in the Olympics will go down in history as one of the best performances by an Indian at the Olympics.
3. Deepak Punia
Deepak Punia was one of the medal prospects for India in wrestling and the grappler also gave his best to almost finish with an Olympic medal. The 22-year old young Deepak wrestled with full vigor to reach the bronze medal match.
Punia was about to win till the last moment when the San Marino wrestler made a sharp move to turn the bout around. But the talented Haryanvi grappler brings great promise and is expected to come back stronger in future international tournaments.
4. Men's badminton duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy
The men's doubles pair of Chirag and Satwik defeated the Chinese Taipei's duo who were the eventual Tokyo Olympic gold medallist. The World No. 3 Lee & Wang only lost to the Indian pair in the entire tournament which goes to show the quality displayed by Shetty & Rankireddy.
They weren't able to qualify on a game difference in the death group after being tied to the world no. 1 and world no. 3. Having 2 of their 3 games, they are bound to defy all odds to dominate the 2024 Paris Summer Games.
5. Bhavani Devi
The first-ever entry in the competition of fencing from India, C.A. Bhavani Devi is a sensation for the Indian generation. She has started a new league where sports like fencing are gaining limelight due to her winning performance in the first round and only losing out to the champion Brunet of France (Tokyo bronze medallist) after a tough fight.
She came here to win an Olympic medal but has earned herself an experience which she will use to come back stronger at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
6. Kamalpreet Kaur
In events like Discuss throw where Indians have failed to qualify over time in Olympics, Kamalpreet made a direct mark qualification with a second position finish. The powerful thrower from Punjab stood 6th in her final round with a final throw of 63.70m, India's best-ever show in the sport at the Olympics.
Her performance has been applauded by Indian fans and she becomes a star and inspiration for young girls out there who wish to make it big in athletics in India.
7. Arjun Lal and Arvind Singh
The duo of Lal and Singh delivered the best ever finish of India in Rowing with an 11th position and qualifying with a 3rd place finish in the repechage round. The hand muscle power and the leg strength of the Indian pair looked extremely great and bring in promise for the future of rowers in India.
With a 2-member squad, this time to a larger contingent, Arjun and Arvind's show will always be on the highlight for Indian Rowing. The young pair won't stop as they aim to better their skills for the upcoming games.
8. Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal Achanta
The Indian paddlers stunned the Indian fans as for the first time, two players from the Indian table tennis team reached the third round. Manika Batra defeated two of her opponents before losing out to Polcanova of Austria and Sharath played a wonderful round against Apolonia before being overpowered by the legend of the game Ma Long.
But both of these players gave tough fights to their opponents. Kamal even won a game against Long and was looking promising to win at a point but the GOAT got the better of him. With their show, the future of Indian table tennis looks bright.
9. Fouaad Mirza
For the first time in two decades, India entered an eventing rider at the Olympics who performed astonishingly laudable considering the position of Indians in such sports. Mirza qualified for the finals in the jumping event with a 25th rank and a score of 47.20. He came 23rd in the finals but gave great hopes for all the Indian fans in the sport of equestrian.