Olympics 2016, the most awaited and famous sports festival in the world is ready to entertain us all and provide us with the highest level of sporting action from around the globe for the next 16 days. So buckle up, sit back and read this article before you head to take off to Rio!
It was in 1896 this culture started its journey and the sports extravaganza has reached Rio this time in 2016 after a successful stint in London 2012. The games that started way back in 4th century AD in Greece hold a very valuable history and have seen the best players of each sport break records and create new benchmarks and inspired billions across the world.
Before the world wars and division of Yugoslavia and USSR, they have dominated the games by a great margin. Now in the present era, superpowers USA and China compete severely for top honours whereas Jamaica dominate the track. The European nations of Great Britain, Germany and France along with Russia and Australia are also firm favorites to finish in the top lists. South Korea, Japan are the dominant Asian nations at the games after China.
India has always been a good contender in most of the sports it competes. We have sent a whopping 83 athletes to London and 124 this time to Rio, the record highest number of players from India. We have in us the likes of 2008 Beijing Shooting Gold Medalist (only Individual Gold for India at the Olympics) Abhinav Bindra leading the country, along with 2012 London Bronze medalists Saina Nehwal, Yogeshwar Dutt and Gagan Narang.
The services of 2 time medalist (the only two time medalist for India at the Olympics) Sushil Kumar and 5 time former world champion Mary Kom will be missed, failing to their qualification. Leander Paes, Sania Mirza and Rohan Boppanna, the finest doubles players in the world will be hoping to finish on the podium. The Indian Hockey team, which have a glorious past, are in good touch and we can expect a third place finish at least. Young sensational gymnast Dipa Karmakar who stole the heart and grabbed the world’s attention with her practically impossible vaults, twice successfully launching a Produnova. Also the recent recognition as “World Class Athlete” should give her enough boost to push another mile and get into the medals tally.
The national shooting team headed by Abhinav Bindra will have the likes of Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai, Heena Siddu and Manvjith Singh Sandhu who are all world class shooters and capable of pulling the trigger at the right time and win laurels. The archery team will be led by World no.1 Deepika Kumari along with Bombaila Devi, Atanu Das and they have reached the venue a month earlier than the team and have practiced separately. They look to pull off some medals as they look to head with the right aim.
The hockey units also look In great spirits with the team winning its first medal at the Champions Trophy, Silver at London 2016. Coming with a new skipper in long term keeper Sreejesh and with a proper blend of young blood and experienced stars, the Asian Champions and 8 time Olympic gold medalists look to give their best and that can surely fetch the side a medal this time. The women’s team qualifying for the mega event after 36 long years will try to make most of this opportunity. With controversies and internal problems in the recent times, the team look a bit disturbed but we will hope that they get inspired by the in form men’s team.
The wrestling team will be led by Yogeshwar Dutt in the absence of Sushil Kumar. There is Spotlight on Narsing Yadav for the controversy with Sushil and so he is expected to give his best to silent the critics. The Phogat sisters will stay key in the woman’s event. With 8 grapplers this time, it becomes the largest contingent of wrestling from India ever which also includes 3 women. There are 2 medals expected from the sport in Vinesh Phogat and Yogeshwar Dutt.
In the track and field events, hope lies just on the relay team that have hit the headlines regularly with the men’s 4×400 team clocking the second best time of the year. This calls for a medal or at least a top 5 finish which means a lot for a country like India. The women’s relay team, the commonwealth games and Asian games medalists, who have the experienced M.R. Poovamma are expected to be at least in the best numbers. Renjith Maheswary (Triple Jump) and Vikas Gowda (Discuss Throw) will be the other athletes who are expected to make strides to the podium. The Indian contingent misses the services of Seema Ponia (Discuss Throw) who was predicted to finish in the medal numbers.
In Badminton, we can boast of London Bronze Medallist Saina Nehwal. Other medal prospects would be the young P.V. Sindhu and K. Sreekanth who always gave their best in the big tournaments. This calls for maybe even 2 medals this time even without much expectations on the experienced duo of Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta.
The boxing contingent promises of at least one medal in Olympics 2016 with Vikas Krishnan having a 4 seeding, meaning his journey till the semifinals is expected to be smooth enough. Experienced Manoj Kumar and the young sensation Shiva Thapa are also contenders for the top honours.
Anirban Lahiri, Shiv Chaurasia and Aditi Ashok would test their hand at Golf. Avtar Singh (Men’s 90kg) becomes the first judoka to qualify from India for the Olympics which opens gates for the sport to gain importance in the nation.
Even though the number from the nation is the highest, it is still a very low number as compared to the population. We are expected to make the contingent larger and better. And it starts from here. The Olympic Games are not the test for the players but for the nation at large. Their efforts to keep the national flag soaring high are what the youngsters are going to get inspired. All the players are ready to give their best in Olympics 2016 and make us proud. Now it is our turn to support them and get inspired by their performances.
Wish your favourite nation, team and players for the Olympics 2016 in the comments section below!