5 Indian players to watch out for in 2020 Olympics - Part 1
We are just a few months away from the biggest sporting event to kick start in the capital city of Japan. With a participation of more than 11000 athletes from over 200 countries, the 32nd edition of these games is surely going to be the biggest and most spectacular event in history. This will be the second time that Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Olympics, the first one being in 1964. Games like Karate, Surfing, Sport-climbing, and Skateboarding will be making their Olympic debut whereas Baseball and softball will be making a comeback in this quadrennial event after a gap of 12 years.
As far as Indian contingent is concerned, 62 players in 6 different sports including members of two hockey teams have qualified for the games so far. Indian participation has seen significant growth in the number of players qualifying for the mega event in the last decade. From 67 in 2012 to 83 in 2016 and a massive 117 in 2016, qualification standards have only gone higher for the Indian athletes but it's the medals tally where the country hasn't seen continuous growth.
In this article, we will see the list of five Indian players along with their medal-winning chances. The winning percentage is calculated on the performance of the player in the year 2018 and 2019.
#1 Bajrang Punia (Wrestling)
25-year-old from Jhajjar, Haryana and a former World No. 1, Bajrang Punia, who was recently awarded India’s highest sporting honor, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna would be aiming for nation’s first-ever Gold Medal in Wrestling at the highest level. Bajrang has had the Midas touch since 2018, after winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games last year, he claimed the yellow metal at Asian Games in Jakarta before winning his second Asian Championships gold in China this year after pinning down some of the biggest names in this category.
He sealed the Olympic quota by winning the bronze medal at World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in September this year. This was his third medal at the World Championships level, he had won a silver medal last year and a bronze in the 2013 edition in Budapest. Ranked No. 2 in the world, Bajrang is currently behind the reigning World and former European Champion Gadzhimurad Gazigandovich Rashidov of Russia. After fully recovering from his elbow injury which he sustained before the World Championships, this former Arjuna Awardee is all set to begin his new season from January. Going by his performances and rankings in the last couple of years, Bajrang would undoubtedly be one of the best medal prospects for the country in the next year's Olympics.
Chances of winning the medal – 80-85 %
Also check: Tokyo olympics 2020 medal tally