The Olympics are the biggest sporting event of the year. This year, 206 countries will take part in 339 events. For India, this the highest number of participants with athletes taking part in 17 events. The country’s athletes will take part in events like sailing and swimming for the first time. Preparations for the Olympics have been going on for a long time. With the inauguration just a few weeks away, all athletes have been locked into the final leg of the preparations.
All Indian athletes are getting ready for competing at the biggest stage in the world. Different athletes are currently training in different countries. The shooting contingent was practising in Italy and Croatia, the wrestling contingent trained in Warsaw, Poland in June (cancellation of national camp in Sonepat). Meanwhile, the Indian boxers had a three-week camp in Italy and the Javelin thrower, Neeraj Chopra, trained in Sweden. Recently, the ace shooter, Manu Bhaker announced she will be off social media till the end of the Olympics.
Covid-19 controversy in Tokyo
The event, which is finally taking place in July 2021, will go down in the history as one of the riskiest sports events because of the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Just the sheer number of individuals involved in the Olympics makes it a risky proposition. The scale and magnitude of the Olympics keep on increasing every year. In today’s times, managing something on this massive scale will be painstakingly difficult.
Even though it is a mammoth task to host a sporting event as big as this during the pandemic, the new restrictions applied for Indian athletes have been deemed unfair by the Indian Authorities. The new regulation requires Indian athletes travelling directly from India to quarantine for 3 days and aren’t allowed to physically interact with any other athlete from another country during that period. They will also have to undergo seven Covid-19 tests in seven days before reaching Japan. These restrictions could affect the athletes mentally, which may hamper their performance.
Indian athletes who have dropped out
The Tokyo Olympics will see the highest number of participants by India in the event’s history, but some of India's elite athletes have missed the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. India’s premier Badminton stars Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikant missed qualification for Tokyo as they didn’t fit the quota. A player needs to be in the top 16 before June 15 for qualification. Both Nehwal and Srikant are ranked 22nd and 20th, respectively.
The trio of Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari were among the favourites to win the Gold in Tokyo, but unfortunately, the Indian women’s Recurve Team couldn’t qualify for the Olympics after suffering a loss to a lower-seeded Columbia. They lost in the opening round of the Final Olympic Qualifier in Paris.
A hamstring injury at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Patiala cost Hima Das, one of India’s top sprinters, her berth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The first Indian woman to win a medal in wrestling, Sakshi Malik, also missed qualification for Tokyo as she lost to Sonam Malik at the trials in the 62kg category before the Asian Wrestling Championships in February 2020.
The Indian wrestling legend and Olympic silver medalist, Sushil Kumar, also didn’t qualify for Tokyo. Amidst the criminal charges pressed on Kumar, he was replaced on the Indian team in the 74Kg weight category for the World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Bulgaria which marked the end of the road for his 2020 Olympic hopes.
After losing in the quarterfinals of the Asian qualifier tournament in Tashkent, Indian fencers Sunil Kumar and Radhia Avati also couldn’t qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. It was the end of the road for Rohan Bopanna and Dvij Sharan as their hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were crushed. The duo has a combined rank of 113 which made a direct qualification very difficult. Withdrawals from other teams were the only hope as the cutoff for direct qualification was a combined rank in the mid-60s.
Here’s the official list of the Indian Olympics contingent for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
All three men will take part as a team in the Recurve event. Deepika Kumari is the current world number one in global rankings.
Tarundeep Rai, Men’s Recurve
Atanu Das, Men’s Recurve
Pravin Jadhav, Men’s Recurve
Deepika Kumari, Women's Recurve
The Indian athletic contingent for the Tokyo Olympics is one of the strongest athletic contingents in the country’s history. Dutee Chand made history in the 2016 Rio Olympics after becoming the first Indian female in about 36 years to take part in the 100m dash. This year she will be part of the100m and 200m events.
KT Irfan, Men's 20km race walking
Sandeep Kumar, Men's 20km race walking
Rahul Rohilla, Men's 20km race walking
Avinash Sable, Men's 3000m steeplechase
Murali Sreeshankar, Men's long jump
Neeraj Chopra, Men's javelin throw
Shivpal Singh, Men's javelin throw
Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Men's shot put
Kamalpreet Kaur, Women's discus throw
Seema Punia, Women's discus throw
Bhawna Jat, Women's 20km race walking
Priyanka Goswami, Women's 20km race walking
4x400 Mixed Relay
Dutee Chand, 100m and 200m
The Indian Badminton contingent has always looked strong. All eyes will be on PV Sindhu as she could better her last performance by winning the gold.
PV Sindhu, Women’s singles
B. Sai Praneeth, Men’s singles
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, Men’s doubles
There will be 9 Indian boxers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Amit Panghal will enter the Olympics as the first ranked boxer in the Men’s 52 kg weight class according to the Boxing Task Force (BTF) rankings announced by the International Olympics Committee.
Vikas Krishan (Men's, 69kg)
Lovlina Borgohain (Women's, 69kg)
Ashish Kumar (Men's, 75kg)
Pooja Rani (Women's, 75kg)
Satish Kumar (Men's, 91kg)
Mary Kom (Women's, 51kg)
Amit Panghal (Men's, 52kg)
Manish Kaushik (Men's, 63kg)
Simranjit Kaur (Women's, 60kg)
Fouaad Mirza will be the first Indian in 20 years to take part in equestrian events at the Olympics. He will be the third Indian equestrian in the history of the Olympics.
Bhavani Devi will be the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics. She qualified for the Tokyo Olympics through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) method at the Budapest Sabre World Cup in March.
Both Anirban Lahiri and Aditi Ashok made their debut at the 206 Rio Olympics and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Lahiri qualified at the 60th rank and Ashok qualified at the 45th rank.
Pranati Nayak will participate in the artistic gymnast event after qualifying via the Asian quota in May. She will be the second Indian to take part in Gymnastics.
This will be the Indian men’s team’s 20th Olympic games. Both men’s and women’s teams qualified in November 2019.
Men’s National Team
Women’s National Team
Sushila Devi Likmabam will represent India in Judo in the women's extra-lightweight (48kg) division at Tokyo 2020. She enters as the highest-ranked Asian judoka outside the top 18 on the Olympic Game Quota (OGQ) rankings list.
Arjun Jat and Arvind Singh will take part in the men’s lightweight double sculls event in the Olympics. They qualified for the Olympics in May at the Asian qualifiers in Tokyo.
Nethra Kumanan will participate in the laser radial event as the first Indian woman in history. Ganapathy Chengappa and Varun Thakkar be part of the 49er event. Vishnu Saravanan will take part in the laser standard event.
With 15 participants, the shooting contingent is India’s largest contingent in any sport. Yashaswini Deswal is the numero uno shooter in the 10m Women’s Air Pistol category as per the International Shooting Sport Federation rankings.
Anjum Moudgil, 10m Women’s Air Rifle
Apurvi Chandela, 10m Women’s Air Rifle
Divyansh Singh Panwar, 10m Men’s Air Rifle
Deepak Kumar, 10m Men’s Air Rifle
Tejaswini Sawant, 50m Women’s Rifle 3 Position
Sanjeev Rajput, 50m Men’s Rifle 3 Position
Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar, 50m Men’s Rifle 3 Position
Manu Bhaker, 10m Women’s Air Pistol
Yashaswini Singh Deswal, 10m Women’s Air Pistol
Saurabh Chaudhary, 10m Men’s Air Pistol
Abhishek Verma, 10m Men’s Air Pistol
Rahi Sarnobat, 25m Women’s Pistol
Chinki Yadav, 25m Women’s Pistol (replaced by Elavenil Valarivan)
Angad Veer Singh Bajwa, Men’s Skeet
Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Men’s Skeet
Sajan Prakash directly qualified for the 200m butterfly event after achieving the elusive 'A' cut. Srihari Nataraj will take part in the 100m backstroke after qualifying with the 'A' cut. Maana Patel became the first Indian female swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Indian table tennis contingent has a great balance of youth and experience. The formidable duo of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra will take part in the mixed doubles event.
Mirabai Chanu will take part in the women's 49kg weight division in weightlifting in Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She is one of the favourites to win gold, as she is ranked second in the world.
Vinesh Phogat will enter the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the world number one in the women’s freestyle 53 kg category.
Seema Bisla, Women's Freestyle, 50kg
Vinesh Phogat, Women’s Freestyle 53kg
Anshu Malik, Women's Freestyle 57kg
Sonam Malik, Women's Freestyle 62kg
Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Men’s Freestyle 57kg
Bajrang Punia, Men’s Freestyle 65kg
Deepak Punia, Men’s Freestyle 86 kg
With the event kicking off on July 23, 2020, the athletes are burning the midnight oil and are knee-deep in preparations. Meanwhile, the country is getting ready to cheer for its favourite athletes.