5 Sports in which India can win a medal in Tokyo 2020

Deep Parikh

India winning just two medals at Rio Olympics with other medal prospect looking bleak does not reflect the true medal winning potential which exists in Indian athletes. Meagre spending on sports is hurting India’s medal winning chances in a big way. The amount of funds that the athletes receive for preparing themselves for the big occasion is a fraction of what other countries spend on their athletes. In a recent report it has been found out that UK spends 5.5 million Euros for every medal that it wins. This is the sort of investment which is required if we expect are athletes to outperform their peers at such a grand event. Apart from this sports is not the first choice as career for most sports persons and most of them drop out because of high risk, uncertainty and low rewards, which needs to be addressed by the government by coming up with schemes that incentivize sporting culture in India. With such shoddy state of affair let us look at some sports in which India can win a medal in Tokyo 2020

1) Field Hockey

Indian Hockey team
Indian Hockey team

Over a long period of time Indian hockey was dominant in the Olympic competitions winning 11 out of 12 times between 1920 and 1980. However the state of affairs started deteriorating after adoption of synthetic courts in all major tournaments.

India had last made it to the knockout stages in 1980 Moscow Olympics. This was also the Games in which it won last of their eight gold medals in hockey. After a gap of 36 long years India made it into the knockout stages of hockey at Rio Olympics.

The hockey team has shown tremendous improvement under the guidance of Coach Roelant Oltmans, which raises our hope from the team for a medal in 2020. We need to take one step at a time Indian hockey team did not qualify for 2008 games, then ended up at 12th position at the London games and improved in this Olympics loosing after reaching the Quarterfinals.

The team is showing constant improvement which raises my hopes for a podium finish at the next games.

2) Shooting

Abhinav Bindra won't be a part of the contingent in Tokyo, but someone will have to carry his legacy forward
Abhinav Bindra won’t be a part of the contingent in Tokyo, but someone will have to carry his legacy forward

India in 2016 sent a contingent of 12 members for shooting. The hope for a medal from this contingent were high but things could not materialize well leaving the medal tally empty.

However in the Indian Olympic history shooting is a sport that India has excelled at in the recent past – four Olympic medals, second only to hockey, including a gold, two silver and one bronze. Therefore in-spite of a dull show in the current games the sentiments are bullish of India winning medals in shooting in the 2020 Tokyo games.

Over the past few years the infrastructure provided to the Indian shooters have also improved drastically. The state administrations are also very active, and there is a good policy in place where there are 6 to 7 trails everywhere from which the best athletes are chosen to participate in tournaments.

A combination of both I improvement in both infrastructure and administration raises our hopes of medals from shooting.

3) Gymnastics

Source: indianolympics.com
Source: indianolympics.com

Dipa Karmakar became the first women gymnast to qualify for Olympics as she booked a berth for her in the Rio games after her stellar performance in world championship in 2015. She became the first female gymnast to qualify for the quadrennial mega event after 52 years.

Karmakar is one of the five women that have successfully landed the very difficult Produnova vault in competition, also holding the highest score amongst all (15.100) in her attempt. She comes from a remote state Tripura where infrastructure is rudimentary.

In spite of her not winning a medal in the games she has won billions of hearts and inspired a huge amount of people coming from remote states where infrastructural facilities are not up to the mark to pick up the game and excel.

Therefore after such a stellar show in this Olympics we at least expect a podium finish from some of our gymnast in the next game.

4) Badminton

PV-Sindhu-World-Badminton-ChampionshipsIn Olympics history India has only won two medals in Badminton. In 2012 London Games it was Saina Nehwal who created history winning a bronze medal and in this year’s Rio games it was PV Sindhu who outperformed her colleague and won a silver medal for India.

One thing which makes me bullish for India’s medal chances in the next Olympics from Badminton is that there are a number of quality players with age by their side.

PV Sindhu is just 21 years old peaking in her career therefore if she can sustain this momentum for the next few years and take her game a notch further then there are very bright chances of a medal in the next games.

Even in the men’s category there are players like Kidambi Srikanth who came extremely close to winning medal in this games but missed marginally. A slight improvement in their games in the coming years would increase their chances of ensuring a podium finish considerably.

5) Wrestling

fw_58kg_sakshi_malik_indDespite of the doping controversies with which some of the players are mired with and poor performance of the players in Rio 2016 games wrestling, wrestling is a sport from which expectations for medal always remain high.

In London Olympics of 2012 Sushil Kumar bettered his 2008 performance and won a silver medal capturing the imagination of Indian masses which gave the sport a huge boost in both viewership and infrastructure availability.

The fiasco at the Rio Olympics of not winning a medal in men category was amply balanced by Sakshi Malik’s heroics. A small town girl coming from Haryana bulldozed the opponents winning a bronze medal of India and opening the medal tally at Rio.

Such inspirational stories are bound to inspire the untapped talent who have it in them to excel at international level but due to lack of resources and unavailability of infrastructure are unable to pursue the sport.

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