1. Milkha Singh
In the 1960 Rome Olympics, Milkha Singh finished 4th, timing 45.6 sec. His timing did better the world record at that time, but he still missed out on a medal by a photo finish. His time and his finishing position was not bettered by an Indian track athlete until the 1984 Olympics, when P.T.Usha missed out on the 400 m hurdles bronze medal by 1/100th of a second.
2. P.T. Usha
In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, P.T.Usha finished 4th in 400 m hurdles, missing out on the medal by a whisker. Earlier in the semi-final’s she had finished first. This miss, still haunts most of the Indian sports fans. She clocked the race in 55.42 seconds which still stands as a National Record for the event in India. This time around, PT Usha’s prodigy ,Tintu Luka will be competing in 800 m.Earlier this year,Tintu, broke Shiny Wilson’s 800m national record, incidentally made at the same Olympics. Tintu, although has a very outside chance of winning a medal, but she is improving very fast.
Every time Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi represent India at the Olympics, we expect a medal from them. But,till now, they have not come good. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, they lost in the 2nd round to the eventual winners, the Woodies. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they lost to the eventual winners Roger Federer and Stainslas Wawrinka in the quarters. The closest they came to that coveted medal was in 2004 Athens Olympics where they lost the Bronze-medal play-off to the Croats Ivan Lubicic and Mario Ancic,6-7 6-4 13-15.
4. Anju Bobby George
The lanky Keralite finished 6th(effectively 5th after Marion Jones was disqualified of all her results) at the 2004 Athens Olympics with a jump of 6.83 m, breaking the previous National record. Earlier, she made history when she won the bronze medal clearing 6.70 m in Long Jump at the 2003 World Championship in Paris, becoming the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in at World Championship in Athletics. Anju Bobby George, failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics Finals after fouling all her attempts in prelims and is still trying to qualify for the London Olympics. But as of now, her chances are very modest and even if she qualifies, none can expect something spectacular from her.
5. Kunjarani Devi
One of the most decorated Indian women weightlifter,could only manage a 4th in the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 48 kg category with a total of 210kg (snatch +clean and jerk). She managed 20 kg less than the winner, which was won by Nurcan Taylan of Turkey with a world record lift of 210 kg. This time around, Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Katulu Ravi Kumar and N Soniya Chanu will be representing India in the weightlifting competition in the London Olympics. Indian weightlifters had earned only two quota places for London Olympics — one each in men’s and women’s sections – at the Asian Championships and don’t have any realistic chance of winning any medal.
6. Hockey team
This was the last realistic time when India had a chance of winning a medal in Hockey. Tears rolled down Dhanraj Pillay’s as well as many other Indian sports lovers eyes, as Poland equalized in the 69th min of the match, to tie India with South Korea on points and eventually sending South.Korea to the semi’s. Irony was that India and South Korea were level on points, but they had beaten India 2-0 earlier in the group stages, that being the only lose India faced at those games. This time around Indian Hockey Team has qualified for the games, but chance of winning any medal are bleak.