Get, set, Tokyo! It’s show-time for the first ‘TV-only’ Olympics: Realistic Indian medal hopes and more | Tokyo Olympics News
In Japan, protests and concerns about Covid-19 have not subsided. Increasing cases and the threat of a ‘super spreader’ Olympics forced a last-minute rethink by International Olympic Committee (COI). Tokyo reported 1,832 cases on Wednesday, its highest level since mid-January. There have also been cases in the Olympic Village. But COI, after a momentary hesitation, said the Olympics will stand.
It’s no wonder, then, that Tokyo 2020 is a ‘closed’ Olympiad, sanitized to the point that it can be called ‘TV-only’ Games.
There will be no fans abroad, not even within Japan. The eerie silence on the world’s largest stage can be disconcerting. Compare this to a Usain Bolt looking sideways even before crossing the line, who shook the bleachers filled with cheering crowds by jumping up and down, and then pounding his chest in front of fans before bursting into his signature ‘To Di World. ‘(To The World) pose (that’s what it’s called in Jamaica). For the rest of the world, it is the ‘Lightning Bolt’.
No fan at the Olympics sounds absurd. Blame it on Covid.
Interestingly, and contrary to some views, players could be better trained for this. They awaited the ruling of ‘non-fans’ as the Olympics approached. On top of that, the blocks and lack of competition gave the players ample time to focus on the mental side of their preparations. It never happened before. So to say that athletes at Tokyo 2020 will be more mentally prepared comes with logic.
Indian women’s boxing team and officials in Tokyo. (Image credit: @BFI_official)
But the sadness of the worried and angry Japanese public was somewhat eased when the softball team got the hosts off to a winning start on Wednesday. They beat Australia to open the Games (softball, soccer, archery and rowing events start before Opening ceremony). If that trend continues, it will help shift Japan’s focus from ‘protests’ to ‘contests’, unless the Covid situation escalates, which can never be ruled out.
India has gone to Tokyo with its largest contingent of 127 athletes (including reserves). But more importantly, India has gone to Tokyo in hopes of getting its biggest loot at the Games.
Spread over 18 sports, in which the Indians have qualified for various events, the contingent consists of many athletes ranked in the top five, including world No. 1s such as boxer Amit Panghal, goalkeeper Deepika Kumari and shooters. Elavenil Valarivan, Abhishek Verma and Yashaswini deswal.
Good morning from #Tokyo @WeAreTeamIndia @ISSF_Shooting @ Tokyo2020 # Cheer4India #indianshootingteam #shooting https://t.co/o5Lk0zxsm9
– NRAI (@OfficialNRAI) 1626843104000
“I really hope that several athletes come back from Tokyo with gold medals. Shooting is still our best hope, it is our best hope, with so many athletes from our Olympic team starting as favorites,” said former shooter Abhinav Bindra, the only individual Olympian from India. gold medalist, while speaking to TimesofIndia.com.
“The world is looking at us now, that because of the gold medals they (Indian athletes) start as favorites. So we have many more athletes than ever before who have a realistic chance of winning gold.”
Then there is the age factor.
It is a mostly young team made up of world champions and medalists in renowned international events. Most of the Indian contingents, at least until the 2008 Beijing Olympics, never had such a large supply of world-class athletes.
“If you see, this contingent is comparatively on the younger side,” said former India hockey striker Jagbir Singh, who participated in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. “Before, our athletes usually won medals once. But now these young people are habitual or used to winning medals (internationally) at a young age, and they can compete in the Olympics at a very mature time. ” he told TimesofIndia.com.
Shooting has its largest contingent for the Olympics, with 15 athletes. The same goes for boxers, who will have a record nine athletes in Tokyo.
The Indian women’s hockey team at the Olympic Village. (Photo credit: @TheHockeyIndia)
But is it correct to directly relate talent and contingent size to the number of medals India can win in Tokyo? Because if the rankings could culminate in medals, India’s spoils could do justice to the predictions that the country will win 19 medals, including 4 gold, made by ‘Gracenote’.
“It is always better to commit less and deliver more,” he said. Viren Rasquinha, when asked by TimesofIndia.com if talking about “double digit medals” is logical at this juncture of India’s sporting prowess at the Olympics.
“Doubtful digit medals can take you too far. It’s good to be optimistic, and if you ask me possible medal winners, it’s definitely double digits,” said the former Indian hockey captain and head of ‘Olympic Gold Quest’.
“Usually there is a conversion rate of around 25 percent from expected medal winners to actual winners. I would say 25 percent is a very high conversion rate. I think if between 20 and 25 percent of them (potential winners) turn it into medals, that’s a reasonable percentage high medal count. I hope it’s the best ever, which means it’s more than six medals (which India won in London 2012 ), “he further told TimesofIndia.com.
Regardless of that, these Games will be special for various newcomers in the Indian contingent and for fencers. Bhavani Devi – which will put Indian fencing on the Olympic map for the first time.
Off ✈️ Tokyo # Olympics2020. My first Olympics. The 1st INDIAN to represent INDIA in Fencing on the Olympic stage.… Https://t.co/nfi3OmNKxd
– CA Bhavani Devi (@IamBhavaniDevi) 1626693657000
The action for India begins as Deepika Kumari draws her bow during the qualifying rounds of the archery event on Friday morning (July 23).
Realistic Indian medal contenders:
Manu bhaker (10m air pistol for women and 25m pistol)
Saurabh Chaudhary (men’s 10m air pistol)
Manu and Saurabh (10m air pistol mixed team)
Rahi Sarnobat (women’s 25m pistol)
Abhishek Verma (Men’s 10m Air Pistol)
Divyansh Singh Panwar (Men’s 10m Air Rifle)
Deepika Kumari (Women’s Individual Recurve Archery)
Neeraj Chopra (men’s javelin throw)
PV Sindhu (women’s individual badminton)
Bajrang Punia (men’s wrestling, 65 kg)
Vinesh Phogat (women’s wrestling, 53 kg)
MC Mary kom (women’s boxing, 51 kg)
Amit Panghal (men’s boxing, 52 kg)
Mirabai Chanu (women’s weightlifting, 48 kg)
A dream that you dream alone, is only a dream. A dream that you dream together is reality. #StrongerTogether #TokyoOlympics https://t.co/Xx587RxNwx
– Pooja Rani Bohra 🇮🇳 (@BoxerPooja) 1626872103000
THOSE WHO HAVE AN EXTERNAL OPPORTUNITY:
Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (men’s shot put)
Manika Batra and Achanta Sharath Kamal (TT mixed team)
Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (shooting, Men’s 50m 3P)