The Indian contingent looks set to collect more medals at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and improve on their performance from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
While the group on the whole have excellent medal prospects, there are a few Indian Olympians from whom the medal expectations will be slightly higher. These athletes have dominated their sport in this Olympic cycle and have risen to the first spot in the world rankings.
Here is a look at the Indian athletes who are ranked number one in their events and are expected to win medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
#1 Deepika Kumari (Archery)
Archer Deepika Kumari was elevated to no.1 in the world rankings following her stupendous success at the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Paris. Heading into Tokyo Olympics 2020, Deepika Kumari is now the top-ranked archer in women’s recurve. She is followed by France’s Lisa Barbelin and Korea’s Kang Chae Young.
This is the second time in her career that she has risen to the top of the ranking charts. She was first ranked no.1 back in 2012.
Deepika Kumari won three golds at the World Cup. The first was with the women’s recurve team. The team comprising Ankita Bhakat, Komalika Bari and Deepika emerged first, beating Mexico.
She then teamed up with husband Atanu Das in the mixed recurve event. They beat the Dutch duo of Sjef van den Berg and Gabriela Schloesser to clinch the gold medal.
Finally, Deepika rounded-off a memorable World Cup as she drowned Elena Osipova of Russia in the women's singles recurve final.
Her form in Paris has certainly inspired hopes for medals in the Archery at Tokyo Olympics. This will be Deepika Kumari's third appearance on the Olympic stage. She will hope to use all of her experience to capture some medals for India.
#2 Amit Panghal (Boxing)
Flyweight boxer Amit Panghal will enter the boxing ring at the Tokyo Olympics as the top-ranked boxer in his weight category. Panghal rose to the top of the rankings after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released its Boxing Task Force (BTF) rankings.
The 25-year-old will be competing in the 52kg division. Panghal is the highest ranked boxer of the nine who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
He has won a silver medal at the World Championships and is the reigning Asian Games champion.
#3 Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling)
Wrestler Vinesh Phogat sits atop the rankings in the women's 53kg freestyle. She was the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after defeating American Sarah Ann Hildebrandt at the 2019 Wrestling World Championships.
Vinesh has had a stellar career so far. She is the first woman wrestler from India to win a gold medal at the Asian Games. The wrestler has also won two golds at the Commonwealth Games. In 2019, she claimed bronze at the Asian Wrestling Championships.
In 2019, Vinesh was nominated for the prestigious Laureus Award in the Best Comeback of the Year category. Vinesh had surprised the world with her re-entry into professional wrestling following a potentially career-ending injury at Rio Olympics 2016.
#4 Yashaswini Deswal (Shooting)
24-year-old Yashaswini Deswal is ranked no. 1 in the 10m air pistol. She has won four golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze at the international level. Yashaswini shot to fame with her show at the 2019 ISSF World Cup held in Rio de Janeiro.
She claimed the bronze medal at the ongoing ISSF Shooting World Cup. Alongside Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat, she finished third in the women's 10m air pistol event. In March, she pipped Manu Bhaker to claim gold at the New Delhi World Cup.
Yashaswini will hope to put up some good performances again at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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