From PV Sindhu to Neeraj Chopra: India's top five medal contenders at Tokyo Olympics 2020
The countdown for Tokyo Olympics 2020 has started with less than 15 days left for the Games to get underway in the Japanese capital. Tokyo Olympics will be played without spectators due to the threat possessed by COVID-19. All necessary protocols have been put in place for the Games to get underway from July 23.
India will be sending a strong contingent of 126 athletes for the Tokyo Olympics. The contingent includes alternate players who will be taking part in team sports. With billions back home cheering for their stars to clinch glory at the Games, India will rest its hopes on the likes of PV Sindhu, Saurabh Chaudhary, and Neeraj Chopra among others to return with a medal.
Here we take a look at top five Indian athletes who can be strong medal contenders at Tokyo Olympics 2020:
1) PV Sindhu
2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu is the only Indian shuttler who will be competing in the women's singles category this year. Sindhu had missed out on gold last time around after losing to Spain's Carolina Marin in the final but would be hoping to better her medal colour this year. Sindhu might not have been in the best of forms off late but she remains one of India's biggest hopes at the Tokyo Games.
2) Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra will be hoping to bring home India's first-ever Olympics medal in athletics this year. The star javelin thrower has won gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games in 2018 but will be taking the field for the first time in Olympics. He qualified for Tokyo in January last year and his highest throw currently stands at 88.07m. If he can better that slightly, Chopra might earn a podium finish at the Games.
3) Saurabh Chaudhary
One of India's brightest medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics, Saurabh Chaudhary is currently ranked second in the world rankings. He will be competing in the Men's 10m air pistol and Mixed 10m air Pistol categories at the Olympics. The 19-year-old was the youngest to win a gold medal at the Asian Games in 2018 and will be gunning for glory at Olympics this year.
4) Bajrang Punia
India's best in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics, Bajrang Punia will be competing in the 65kg weight category. He has been one of the best wrestlers in the country in the last couple of years and will head into the Olympics as the second seed with high hopes of a podium finish.
5) Mary Kom
The six-time world champion might not be a favourite in the women's 51kg category but her opponents should rule her out at their own peril. One of the most experienced campaigners in the Indian contingent, Mary Kom will be hoping to better her bronze medal from the 2012 Olympics. She is the only female Indian boxer to have won an Olympic medal and will be aiming for her second medal this year.