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Amid COVID gloom, could it be ‘India Shining’ in Tokyo? All indications say yes | Tokyo Olympics News


TOKYO: There is a palpable tension, a sense of dread actually, but the COVID-affected Olympics starting on Friday or the ‘Games of Hope’, as the IOC desperately wants the world to believe, could turn out to be a point turning point for the largest India in history. contingent of shooters, boxers and fighters expected to lead a medal race like no other.
The Games were postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not slowed down as much as the world would have liked despite the arrival of multiple vaccines.

Fear of the virus is ubiquitous in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, which is home to thousands of athletes, their support staff and officials while recording more than 1,000 daily cases of COVID-19.
Only a small group of them are related to the Games, but they have been enough to guarantee that fear remains a constant in the event.
A few weeks ago it was banned from viewers, taking away the very idea of ​​the festivities that fuel the Olympic spirit.
The International Olympic Committee however, you are doing your best to focus on hope and you want everyone else to do the same; Just try to see the bright side
“It is a recipe … to overcome a crisis and address a crisis, and after the Games, that message of hope will translate into a message of confidence,” IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday night.
His eager journey of hope begins with the opening ceremony on Friday, and Bach is confident that it will be a “moment of joy and relief, joy in particular” when the action begins to unfold.
“… the road to this Opening Ceremony was not the easiest. There is a saying that if you feel this kind of relief, there are stones falling from your heart, so if you hear some stones fall then maybe they will come of my heart, “he said.
His musings will have resonance at least in one country.
India, a nation of more than 1.3 billion, has just 28 Olympic medals under its belt since it made its debut in 1900. That tally features just one individual gold that Abhinav Bindra collected in 2008.
This country is definitely more optimistic than before than its 120 athletes, 68 men and 52 women, would achieve in Tokyo. Expectations are for a first double-digit figure on the medal count.
The first among the contenders are 15 shooters. Mostly young, with significant international success to their credit in the last two years and brimming with energy.
19-year-old Manu Bhaker, 20-year-old Elavenil Valarivan, 18-year-old Divyansh Singh Panwar and 20-year-old Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar are just a few of those whose medal hopes are soaring. .

They seem ready for the pressure, and on July 24, there could well be a gold rush that India has never seen at the Games.
The jumbo shooting contingent is off to the side.
In the other, a lone warrior: Mirabai Chanu (49 kg) in weightlifting. The 26-year-old has come a long way since failing to record a single legitimate lift at the Rio Olympics five years ago.
Since then, she has been a World Champion (2017) and Commonwealth Games Champion (2018) and also holds the world record for clean and jerk. If all goes well, his could be among the first medals India would celebrate this weekend.

Another group to watch out for is the archery team, led by experienced world number one Deepika Kumari.
Deepika would be eager to exorcise the ghosts of the 2012 London Olympics, where she also entered as the world’s number one only to fail and return home empty-handed.
With her husband Atanu Das, a mixed team archery medal is seen as a real possibility for India.

Boxers are another group of big contenders with world number one Amit Panghal (52 kg), six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51 kg), former Asian Games champion Vikas krishan (69 kg) being the strongest medal hopes in the record group of nine that have qualified.

There are eight fighters in the fray and it would be considered nothing short of a debacle, dare I say a parody, if the star duo of Bajrang Punia (65 kg) and Vinesh phogat (53 kg) don’t finish on the podium after dominating every tournament they’ve been to in the last three years.
Not to mention dark horses like Deepak Punia (86kg), who was a silver medalist at the world championships in 2019 and could well be the big star to emerge from the Games.
The two hockey teams are also coming in with a lot of optimism after decent outings on international tours last year.
The men’s team led by Manpreet Singh and the women’s team led by Rani Rampal have a genuine opportunity if they control their nerves on the big stage.

The last of India’s eight hockey gold medals returned in 1980 and, for the first time in many years, there is real hope that the drought may finally end as a new era in the sport begins.

There is also some excitement surrounding paddlers with the mixed team of veteran A Sharath Kamal and fearless Manika Batra having a chance to win a medal together.

In athletics, the javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s spear could end the agony of near misses that people like PT Usha and the late Milkha Singh endured.
World champion PV Sindhu He is also looking good for a second career Olympic medal, an achievement that would cement his place among the all-time greats of Indian sports.
Also, and perhaps a sign of India’s growth as a sporting nation, the country would have representation in fencing (CA Bhavani Devi) and equestrian (Fouaad Mirza) for the first time.
It is also the first time that two swimmers (three in total), Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj – made the Olympic cut with ‘A’ rating grades.
Therefore, India can certainly hope that the sadness of the pandemic will dissipate with the brilliance of the performances of its athletes.

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