The countdown to the Tokyo Olympics has begun, with the International Olympic Committee officially confirming the dates which will now take place from 23rd July to 8th August 2021.
These Olympics was originally scheduled for 24 July to 9 August 2020, before being postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic. The suspension led to disappointment among sports fans around the world, but now situations are getting better with major tournaments taking place.
The Indian contingent is ready as they are under preparation and with less than five months in hand, many have to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Many players have booked tickets for the event in different sports.
The Indian women’s and men’s hockey team have qualified for the games. The teams have started preparing with the national camp resuming at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru. This camp will decide the final squads that will fly to Tokyo.
Shooters are probably the brightest prospects as they have won 21 golds in four World Cups. The results have reflected in the qualifications as India has won a record 15 quota places in shooting for Tokyo.
Badminton has been the most successful discipline as India has won a medal at each of the last two Olympics. All eyes would be on PV Sindhu but she is yet to qualify for the Tokyo.
Nine Indian boxers have qualified so far for the Olympics which equal the previous best qualification cycle of the year 2012. There could be more boxers as there is another qualification event yet to be held. The boxers who have qualified are Mary Kom and Simranjit Kaur in the women's 60kg category as well as Ashish Kumar in the men's 75kg category with six more players.
Four Indian wrestlers have qualified so far for the Olympics are Ravi Dahiya in men's 57kg freestyle category, Bajrang Punia in men's 65kg freestyle category, Deepak Punia in men's 74kg freestyle category, and Vinesh Phogat in women's 53kg freestyle category.
Sakshi Malik along with Sushil Kumar and Narsingh Yadav is still to qualify for Tokyo Olympics.
Track and field
Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh in men's javelin throw have qualified with KT Irfan in men's 20 km race walking, Bhawna Jat in women's 20 km race walking, Avinash Sable in men's 3000m steeplechase, and 4x400m mixed relay team. Indian race walkers Sandeep Kumar, Rahul, and Priyanka Goswami have also qualified for the event.
Surprisingly, Hima Das, Dutee Chand, Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, and many others are still fighting for the qualification as the deadline for Olympic qualification is June 29, 2021.