With India winning not 1 but 3 medals last time at Beijing, expectations are riding high on this Indian Contingent. We have some serious contenders this time too, so here is list of medal prospects for India sport by sport.
Abhinav Bindra will obviously be the man to watch as he goes out there and defends his history making gold medal which he won 4 years ago in the same event. Though not in the best of form he still has a good chance of winning a medal, from the Indian perspective lets hope its gold again. Then there is Gagan Narang the man who has won 8 Commonwealth Golds in just 2 tournaments, who is definitely a medal prospect. All eyes will be on him as he contests in the 10m Air Rifle along with Bindra and the 50m 3 Position. Finally the trap shooters have an equally good chance of winning, both Manavjeet Singh Sandhu and Ronjan Sodhi are seasoned shooters and the latter is believed to have the best chance among the shooting team of winning a medal.
Boxing: With 8 quotas booked by the Indian pugilists and Mary Kom in the women’s division, the team is expected to bring back at least one medal home. Former olympic bronze medalist Vijender Kumar will be hoping to go one better and win the gold this time. Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa are also very bright prospects. A thought must be spared for the coach Gurbaksh Singh, who will be on duty for one last time and according to him the boys will do him proud this time
Tennis: After all the controversy surrounding Lee-Hesh, both seemed to have settled well ahead of the games. Leander and Sania have a superb chance of winning gold in the mixed doubles as only 16 teams compete in the event. The Men’s doubles competition will be tough and I only assume Bopanna-Mahesh to reach the semi finals at best, with last time winner Roger Federer competing, it will be tough to get past him. Leander and Vishnu have no chance of a medal and they need something special if they are to make it big. The same goes for Sania in both the Women’s doubles (partnered by Rushmi) and singles and Somdev in the Men’s Singles.
Archery: Both the Men’s and Women’s team have a good chance of winning a medal in the recurve event, but when it comes to the individual competition, 18 year old Deepika Kumari, the current world number one is our best hope. This is one area where a gold medal is surely expected to come from and Deepika’s composure will be put to the test.
Athletics: Chances of a medal are slim. Perhaps the best hope is Krishna Poonia, but with Anju Bobby George putting off her chances and saying the best our discuss throwers will finish in the top 8, one starts to have second thoughts. She may however surprise us by bringing home a medal. Others include Vikas Gowda(Discuss), Tintu Lukka(800m), Ranjith Maheshwari(Triple Jump) and Om Prakash Karhana(Shot Put) as well but little is expected from them.
Badminton: 4 years ago Saina Nehwal missed out on a medal at Beijing , this time however she is almost bound to win a medal. Taking her current form into consideration, it wouldn’t be ambitious if one said that she might even win gold. Jwala and her partner Ashwini also have a good chance going into the Olympics.
Hockey: After failing to qualify last time for Beijing 2008, ending the dream before it began, a medal would surely bring back our long lost glory to Indian Hockey. However, with the competition being tough this time, and all the heavy weights in the best of their form, India will need to come up with an exceptional performance. Improved drag flicking and defense can only get them close, but still doesn’t ensure anything.
Swimming: With one swimmer in the competition one does not expect much from this sport.
Rowing: With one entry each into the single and double sculls, one can simply expect the rowers to do well and finish in the top 10. Expecting a medal is far from the truth in this sport.
Table Tennis: Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das go into the singles event, again one doesnt expect much owing to the fact that this sport is dominated by the other Asian countries to a vast extent.
Weightlifting: Going in with just two entries this time, weightlifting is a sport that can at times surprise you. A medal would be a welcome and after Karnam Malleswari’s glory at Sydney in 2000, this would inspire a lot of young lifters in India and carry the sport forward.
Wrestling: Finally we arrive at this sport, the sport which gave us a bronze at Beijing in the form of Sushil Kumar. Sushi will want to improve on that as he along with four others compete for glory. Yogeshwar Dutt is also a bright prospect.