We are 3 months away from the start of the 28th edition of the Olympics. As the countdown begins, more and more athletes from across the globe will be looking to put in their best in order to make the cut for the mega-event within the qualifying period.India already has a quite a few athletes in various disciplines who have booked a berth for the Games. Here's a brief profile of each of them.
Thus far a total of 12 shooters have made the cut to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio. Here’s the team that will travel to Rio:
Jitu Rai – Having been ranked World No. 1 in 2014, he won gold at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in the 50m Air Pistol event and has sealed a spot in that same event for the Olympics.
Apurvi Chandela – Having recently won the silver medal at the shooting World Cup final in Munich, she has made the cut courtesy her bronze medal win at the World Cup in Changwon in early 2015.
Gagan Narang – He who won a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics in the 10m Air Rifle event, and booked a berth at the Summer Games next year by winning the bronze at the Fort Benning World Cup in May.
Abhinav Bindra – The 2008 Olympic gold medalist booked a quota place courtesy his 6th place finish in the 10m Air Rifle final at the Munich World Cup in May.
Gurpreet Singh – He earned a quota in the 10m Air Pistol category, a day after missing the berth in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol category.
Prakash Nanjappa – He booked a spot in the Olympics as well as the final World Cup of the year at Gabala in the 50m pistol event.
Chain Singh – He booked a spot in the Olympics as well at the final World Cup of the year at Gabala in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event.
Mairaj Ahmed Khan – He sealed a spot for Rio 2016 at the Lonato Shotgun Championships.
Heena Sidhu – The 26-year-old booked a quota in the 10m Air Pistol event at the Asian Shooting qualifier in New Delhi.
Kynan Chenai – Chenai became India's 1st trap shooter to book a quota for Rio 2016, at the Asian Shooting qualifier in New Delhi.
Ayonika Paul – Joining Chandela in the women's 10m Air Rifle will be Ayonika Paul, who also booked a quota at the Asian qualifiers in New Delhi.
Manavjit Singh Sandhu – The trap shooter was picked ahead of Sanjeev Rajput in the Men’s trap event to lend more experience to the team.
The Indian men’s hockey team made the cut for the Olympics courtesy a gold medal win at the 2014 Asian Games where they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the final. With both teams locked at 1-1, India clinched the gold in a penalty shootout which saw PR Sreejesh pull off some fantastic saves. The Men in Blue won the shoot out 4-2 to win their first Asian Games gold in 16 years.
The Indian women’s hockey team also made the cut for the Rio Olympics after finishing in 5th place in the Hockey World Semifinals in Belgium in July. This will be the team’s first appearance at the Olympics after a gap of 36 years.
India have a decent contingent emerging in athletics, with the likes of:
Inderjeet Singh – He qualified for the Olympics after winning the gold in Shotput at the Federation Cup in Mangalore.
Lalita Babar – She made the cut courtesy a gold in the 3000m steeplechase event at the Asian Athletics Championships in June.
OP Jaisha – She will feature in the marathon team.
Sudha Singh – She will also feature in the marathon team, joining Babar and Jaisha.
Tintu Luka – Despite failing to make it to the final, Tintu Luka qualified for the Rio Olympics in the women’s 800m event, at the recent World Championships in Beijing.
Khushbir Kaur – India will have a sizeable contingent in the walk event with Khushbir Kaur featuring in the women’s 20km walk.
Sandeep Kumar – He will participate in the men’s 50km walk.
Manish Singh – He will also participate in the men’s 50km walk.
Manpreet Kaur – India found a second contender for a medal in the shot-put event in the form of Manpreet Kaur who qualified for the Games, after winning gold at the National Open Athletics Championships in Kolkata last month.
Vikas Gowda – He has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) lowered the entry standards for athletes in order to have more of them participate in the track and field events during the games.
Kavita Raut – It was a significant moment for Kavita Raut earlier this month, when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after recording a time of 2:30:38, thereby finishing well within the Rio qualification mark of 2:42:00.
Sudha Singh – Marathoner Sudha Singh won the silver medal at the 3000m steeplechase event at the Federation Cup in New Delhi in April 2016 to secure a berth at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Nitendra Singh Rawat – Rawat booked a spot for Rio 2016 at the Mumbai Marathon earlier this year.
Gopi T – Like Rawat, Gopi T also qualified for Rio 2016 at the Mumbai Marathon.
Kheta Ram – He was the third marathoner to book a Rio 2016 spot at the Mumbai Marathon.
Four Indian archers have booked a spot in the Rio Olympics.
Deepika Kumari – She is the biggest hope for a medal, and will be participating in her second Olympics after London 2012. Along with featuring in the Individual event, she will be a part of the team event as well.
Laxmirani Majhi – She is part of the trio that won a silver medal at the Archery World Championships which was held in Copenhagen in August, and she will compete in Rio as part of the same trio.
Rimi Buriuly – The final member of the medal-winning trio, she will join Kumari and Majhi in Rio.
Mangal Singh Champia – India also have a participant in the men's individual event in the form of Mangal Singh Champia.
Narsingh Yadav – Narsingh Yadav booked a quota at the World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas last year in the 74kg category.
Yogeshwar Dutt – Dutt became the second Indian wrestler to book a quota for Rio in the 65kg Free Style category at the Asian Olympic qualifier in Astana in Kazakhstan.
Hardeep – Hardeep became the third grappler to book a quota at the same event in the 98kg Greco-Roman category at the Asian Olympic qualifier in Astana in Kazakhstan.
Sandeep Tomar – Sandeep booked a quota for Rio 2016 last month at the World qualifying event in Ulaanbaatar in the 57kg category.
Vinesh Phogat – In the final qualification event, Vinesh Phogat booked the quota in the 48kg category in the final qualifying event in Istanbul.
Sakshi Malik – Joining Phogat for Rio will be Sakshi Malik, who booked her quota on the second last day in the 58kg category in the last qualifying event in Istanbul.
Babita Kumari- She got the quota after her opponent Sumiya Erdenechimeg was found guilty of testing positive in the 53kg category.
Ravinder Khatri- Qualified for Rio after his opponent Zhanabek KenZheev was found guilty of testing positive in the 85kg category.
Saina Nehwal – After finishing in the eighth position in the BWF Rankings, Saina Nehwal confirmed her place for Rio 2016, which now will be the third Olympics of her career.
PV Sindhu – Joining the 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist will be PV Sindhu, who finished in 10th place at the end of the qualification period and will now head to Rio to compete in her maiden Olympics.
Kidambi Srikanth – Joining Sindhu in making his Olympics debut will be Kidambi Srikanth, who in the absence of the experienced Parupalli Kashyap will carry the Indian hopes in the men’s singles category. The 22-year-old finished as World No.12 on the final day of qualification.
Manu Attri & Sumeeth Reddy – Two other players who will be making their debut appearance at the Olympics will be Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, who will lead the Indian Men’s doubles charge at the event.
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa – The experienced pairing of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will also travel to Rio and will, along with Saina, be India’s biggest hopes for a medal. They will be hoping to get some valuable points in the upcoming competitions in order to rise up the rankings and thereby get an easier draw at the Games.
24-year-old Armyman Dattu Bhokanal won the silver in the finals of the men’s single sculls at the 2016 FISA Asian and Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta at Chung-ju in South Korea to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio.
From the drought-hit village of Talegaon in Maharashtra, Bhokanal, the oldest of three siblings, was forced to give up his education after his father, the family’s sole breadwinner, passed away. Many had expected the youngster to get into farming, a standard practice for those in the village, which was in tough times with a spate of farmer suicides as a result of severe drought.
It was only at age 20 that Bhokanal was introduced to rowing, and he took up the sport seriously for the first time at the city’s Bombay Engineer Group and Centre in Khadki, Pune. His skills saw him picked up at the Army Rowing Node, and led to him commencing training at the National Rowing Camp.
In 2015, Bhokanal won silver at the Asian Rowing Championship in China in 2015.
Bhokanal’s spot at the qualifying event happened as a result of an injury for top Indian rower Swarn Singh, who is nursing a bad back.
Currently helping his ailing mother recover from a serious fall at the family home, Bhokanal has said he hopes to win laurels for the country in Rio.
The 18th of April 2016 will go down in the history books as the day on which India found its first ever women Olympic participant in gymnastics in the form of 22-year-old Dipa Karmakar.
The Tripura-born gymnast booked her spot into Rio 2016, at the final qualifying event held in the Brazilian capital after accumulating a total of 52.698 points in the three events combined that helped her eventually seal the berth.
In a career that has spanned just under a decade, Dipa has scaled many a height and created many a first for Indian sport and will certainly be a dark horse for a medal at Rio 2016, come this August.
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Achanta Sharath Kamal- The paddler booked a Rio 2016 berth at the Asian Olympic qualification event in Hong Kong in April.
Manika Batra- The Indian progressed through to Rio 2016 in the same competition as Sharath Kamal and will take part in her maiden Olympics in August.
Soumyajit Ghosh- he was India’s youngest participant at the London Olympics and will now head to Rio to take part in his second Games. He too qualified in the same event as Kamala and Batra.
Mouma Das-Joining Batra in the Women’s Singles will be Mouma Das, who also qualified for her second Olympics in Hong Kong.
The 24-year-old booked a continental quota in the 90kg category at the Judo Grand Slam in Azerbaijan in Baku and although the final qualifiers are yet to occur and there could be an alteration in rankings, the coach expressed optimism over him qualifying.