Gunning for glory at Rio

Prashanto

Abhinav Bindra: The flag-bearer of India at Rio Olympics
Abhinav Bindra: The flag-bearer of India at Rio Olympics

With the amount of nuclear weapon in possession of most of the nations, experts say there is little possibility of a Third World War which can lead to the destruction of the world only. Sports, most feel, have replaced war in the real term but at the same time come closest to it.

Nations can very well take the Rio Olympics, scheduled from August 5-21, as the platform to showcase their strength. India will be no exception also as they send their biggest-ever Games (121 athletes) contingent this time. The country is already looked upon as an economic superpower as India fight for their permanent membership status in the United Nations.

 

The players met Prime Minister Narendra Modi before leaving for Rio
The players met Prime Minister Narendra Modi before leaving for Rio

A good show at Rio will only strengthen their claim and no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a positive interest in the preparation of the athletes for the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’. Modi himself met the athletes and boosted their confidence and promised all governmental help before they departed for Rio.

Four years back in London the Indian contingent grabbed their highest-ever medal hunt as 1.2 billion-odd Indians celebrated the country’s two silver and four bronze medals. But this time the expectation has only risen.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the sports ministry are reportedly looking at ‘around 10 to 14 medals’ for India at Rio.

The projection was made at a meeting held in New Delhi recently where top officials from the sports ministry, SAI, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and national federations reviewed performances and preparations of athletes from each discipline.

Jitu Rai
Jitu Rai of India

“We are sticking to our projection of around 10 to 14 medals going by current form of our athletes. What happens on that particular day is something none of us can predict, but we should achieve this target,” SAI director Injetti Srinivas said after the meeting.

“We were earlier focusing on just seven disciplines but looking at our recent performances in athletics and golf, we believe there is hope there too,” he added.

Like every year the run-up to the mega event does not lack its dose of controversies. First the country’s court has to decide on who will represent the country in the wrestling 74kg category with two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar losing his sport to Narsingh Yadav who dramatically was involved in a doping scandal soon after that. Discus thrower Inderjeet Singh too failed a dope test while much hue was raised about who will partner Rohan Bopanna in the men’s doubles tennis event.

Anirban Lahiri of India in action
Anirban Lahiri of India in action

As usual, India’s medal hopes lie in shooting, badminton, boxing, tennis, wrestling and archery. Golf will be making its Olympic debut in Rio and the SAI is pinning its hopes on Anirban Lahiri, who has been in sizzling form on the PGA tour in the last few months.

The reason behind high hopes this time has been that the number of potential medal winners is more this time around than it was in London. There is also a wider pool of athletes who are capable of winning medals at Rio.

Top hopes

Leander Paes
Leander Paes

Disciplines: Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Archery, Tennis.

Athletes: Saina Nehwal, PV Sindh (badminton). Deepika Kumari, women’s recurve team (archery), Sania Mirza, Leander Paes (tennis), Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Jitu rai, Apurvi Chandila (shooting). Anirban Lahiri (golf), Sandeep Tomar (wrestling).

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal
Archer Atanu Das
Archer Atanu Das
Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza
The reason behind high hopes this time has been that the number of potential medal winners is more this time around than it was in London.
The reason behind high hopes this time has been that the number of potential medal winners is more this time around than it was in London
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