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5 Indian athletes who are yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics

  • Some big names are yet to make the cut, while a few of them should get in, others may find the road to Tokyo too arduous.
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 03 Mar 2020, 15:50 IST

Japan is gearing up for the mega event.
Japan is gearing up for the mega event.

Checkout:The Tokyo Olympics 2020 Schedule

We are just a few months away from the biggest and grandest sporting event set to kick start in the capital city of Japan. After winning six medals at London 2012, Team India had a rather forgettable stint at the 2016 Olympics as the nation bagged just two medals. A record number of athletes are expected to take part in the Tokyo Olympics extravaganza..

As far as the Indian contingent is concerned, 64 athletes from 6 different sports including 32 players of two hockey teams have qualified for the games so far; a lot more are already in the queue to make the nation proud at the highest level. A lot of tournaments are still pending by which the Indian stars can achieve the qualifying mark to march their way to the Olympics.

Below is the list of five renowned Indian athletes who are yet to get the ticket to Tokyo.

#1. Muhammed Anas Yahiya (Men's 400m individual)

Muhammed Anas
Muhammed Anas

Born in Nilamel, Kerela, this 25-year-old sprinter, Muhammed Anas, came into the limelight after he broke the national 400 m record at the Polish Athletics Championships in June 2016 after he clocked 45.40 seconds and achieved the Rio Olympic qualification mark, thus becoming the third Indian sprinter in this category after Milkha Singh and K.M Binu to make the to the biggest sporting event. However, his performance in the Olympics was below par as he failed to qualify for the next round after finishing sixth in his respective heat. But, that was just the start of a promising career for the then 21-year-old Indian athlete.

He made a remarkable comeback in 2018 Commonwealth Games after he finished 4th in his event, though he missed the medal by a whisker, he became the first Indian athlete after 60 years to reach the finals of a track event in these games. The last person to achieve this feat was none other than the legend Milkha Singh in 1958. He then went on to win the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games.

Anas, who is currently ranked 45 in the world in men's 400m category, is yet to achieve the automatic Olympics qualification mark of 44.90 seconds which is lower than his personal best and national record timing of 45.24 seconds which he set at the 2019 Czech Athletics Championships. Also as per the new rules by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), an athlete can qualify by virtue of his/her IAAF World Ranking for their particular discipline, so in case Anas is not able to achieve the entry standard times at any IAAF-recognised race then he will have to depend on his ranking at the end of Olympic cut-off date which is 29th June 2020. The total number of quota spots available in men's 400m is 48 which means that his path to the Olympics won't be easy.

#2. Sakshi Malik (women's freestyle wrestling)


Sakshi Malik
Sakshi Malik
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Silver medalist from 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sakshi Malik, announced her grand entry at the highest level after winning the prestigious bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in 58kg freestyle category. Sakshi, a 27-year-old grappler from Rohtak, Haryana, who, was awarded the nation's highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2016, is yet to make the cut in the Tokyo Olympics.

Sakshi, who was defeated by the two-time world cadet champion Sonam Malik during the 62kg trials, would be given another chance as Sonam failed to win any medal for the nation in the recently concluded Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi and Rome Ranking Series last month; trials will be held in Lucknow on February 26. Asian Olympic Games Qualifier for wrestling is slated to take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from March 27 to 29, last qualifying tournament for the same will be held in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria from April 30 to May 3. As of now, 4 Indian wrestlers including three in men's freestyle and one in women’s freestyle have achieved the Olympic quota. There are a total of 18 weight categories in freestyle and Greco roman which means that as many as 14 spots are still up for grab for the Indian players.

#3. PV Sindhu (badminton)

PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu

Reigning World Champion and silver medalist from the Rio Olympics, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, who started her international career at the age of 14 is one of the another big name in Indian sports who is yet to get an Olympics 2020 ticket. The year 2019 was like a roller-coaster ride for the 24-year-old Hyderabad-born shuttler. From becoming the first Indian player to be crowned as the World Champion to face an array of early exits post that, Sindhu went through a substantial dip in her form from her previous season as she ended the year with a 30-17 win-loss record as compared to 46-16 in 2018.

Tokyo qualification for Badminton is solely dependent on the rankings which will be released by BWF on April 30th. 38 players will be allowed to take part in the singles category whereas 32 pairs would be competing in the doubles category. An NOC is allowed to enter a maximum of two players each in the singles category, provided both the players are in the top 16 of the world rankings released by BWF on 30th April.

Ace Indian shuttler currently holds the 6th spot with 67,754 points in 14 tournaments during the qualification period so with just a few tournaments to go before the final rankings are published, it doesn't look like a big roadblock for the former Padma Bhushan awardee to add another Olympic quota for the nation.

#4. Hima Das (women's 200 and 400m individual)

Hima Das
Hima Das

Star Indian athlete and World Junior 400-metre champion, Hima Das, 20, who has had several injury issues in the last few months has decided to focus on 200m event instead of her pet 400m to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. She was also ruled out of the World Championships that took place in Doha last year due to a back injury. National record holder in 400m and reigning Asian Games silver medalist, Hima, has a personal best of 23.10 seconds in 200m event which is behind the automatic Olympic qualification mark of 22.80 seconds.

Also known as the Dhing Express, Hima,who, created a sensation after winning five golds in a span of 19 days last year, is currently being trained by Galina Bukharina who is the head coach of 400m and Relay athletics of India. As far as the World Rankings are concerned, Hima Das is below par in both 200m and 400m as she currently stands at 107th position in 400m and 128th in 200m. A total of 56 athletes would be allowed to compete in women's 200m event whereas the number reduces to 48 for the 400m event. As per the new rules by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), an athlete can qualify by virtue of his/her IAAF World Ranking for their particular discipline, or by achieving the automatic qualification mark in any IAAF-recognised race.

At this point, it looks highly unlikely for Hima to achieve the quota by virtue of her ranking but chances are there for her to qualify via the automatic qualification mark if she improves on her endurance and timings.

#5. Vikas Krishan (boxing)

Vikas Krishan
Vikas Krishan

"Winning is not everything for me, winning is the only thing," said reigning Commonwealth Games Champion and nation's hope in Welterweight (69kg) category, Vikas Krishan, while packing his bags for a training session. The 28-year-old, Hisar-born boxer, who is currently being trained at Assisi, Italy for next month's Olympic qualifiers is also a professional boxer. He made his professional boxing debut in Jan 2019. The Indian pugilist has already participated in two Olympics, after crashing out in the first round of 2012 London Olympics, Vikas made a strong comeback in Rio as he made his way to the final eight before going down to the eventual silver medalist Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan.

Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifiers which were scheduled to take place in Wuhan, China from February 3rd to February 14th was moved to Jordan’s capital city of Amman after the coronavirus outbreak in China. The tournament will now be held from March 3- March 14. A total of 13 Indian boxers including 8 men and 5 women are slated to participate in this event. 6 spots will be up for grab in 52, 57 and 63kg category whereas 5 each will be available in 69,75 and 81kg category. Heavyweight (91kg) and superheavy(91+kg) will have 4 quota places each.

Boxers who failed to achieve the Olympic quota in this event will have a final chance to grab the ticket via the World Olympic qualifying tournament in Paris from 13-20 May.

Also check out: The Tokyo Olympics 2020 medal tally



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Published 02 Mar 2020, 19:44 IST
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