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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Can Mary Kom and Manpreet Singh emulate the legacy of their predecessors?

Will Mary Kom and Manpreet Singh emulate the success of their predecessors at the Tokyo Olympics?
Will Mary Kom and Manpreet Singh emulate the success of their predecessors at the Tokyo Olympics?
Animesh Pandey

Tokyo Olympics is almost a fortnight away. As of now, in an important decision, the Indian Olympic association has announced the flagbearers for the opening ceremony. Star boxer MC Mary Kom and captain of the Indian hockey team Manpreet Singh will be India's official flag bearers at the Tokyo Olympics.

Return of hockey to the forefront at the Tokyo Olympics

The decision to have two flagbearers is aimed at hitting two targets with a single shot. Not only will it ensure further diversity for an already diverse India, it will also ensure that Indian hockey returns to the forefront. After 25 years, an Indian skipper will be holding the flag during the opening ceremony.

The last time an Indian hockey player got the honor was in 1996, when Pargat Singh led the Indian contingent in Atlanta in 1996.

Flag Bearers and Medal Ratio for India - Part Success, Part Failure

Indian Flag Bearers at Olympics - Part Success, Part Failure [Image for Representational Purposes]
Indian Flag Bearers at Olympics - Part Success, Part Failure [Image for Representational Purposes]

It is not necessary that whoever bears the flag at the Olympics, also brings home an Olympic medal. However, in the case of India, it is partly true, and partly not. Since 1928, many flag bearers have been captains of the Indian hockey team. As a result, the Indian team never returned empty handed completely.

However, the situation has changed since 1980. The only man who managed to break this ignominy was Sushil Kumar. He led the contingent as the flag bearer during the opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012.

He also won a silver medal in his wrestling event. It is ironic that both his 66 kg event freestyle, as well as his career, are now in tatters.

Can Mary Kom and Manpreet Singh change their fortunes?

However, this time, the situation can change for the better. The Indian Tokyo Olympics contingent is being led by two sportsmen who have the potential to create history. MC Mary Kom would certainly like to end her boxing career on a historic high with at least an Olympic podium finish if nothing else.

Meanwhile, as the captain of the hockey team, Manpreet is looking forward to ending a four decade-old Olympic medal drought. The medal drought has technically ended with a silver medal at the Youth Olympics in 2018.

However, it came in the Hockey 5s event, the T20 version of field hockey, played on a smaller field.

However, there are many members of that historic team in the current team as well, at the Tokyo Olympics. Some of them even played an important role in bringing back the Junior Hockey World Cup home in 2016. As such, Manpreet will leave no stone unturned in bringing the coveted Olympic medal to India.

The same would be Mary Kom's dream, as both represent India as the flagbearers of the contingent at the Tokyo Olympics.


Edited by Rohit Mishra

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