Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has expressed confidence that India will win at least 10 medals at the Tokyo Olympics 2021. He also sounded optimistic that the quadrennial sporting extravaganza would be held next year.
Dr. Batra talked candidly on various aspects related to sports, including India's prospects at the Tokyo Olympics, in an exclusive interaction with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda.
When asked about his medal expectations from Indian athletes, Dr. Batra was prompt in replying that he was looking for at least 10 medals and that he has always maintained that target.
"I always said double-digit and I still maintain that."
This should be a major improvement on the 2 medals won by India, PV Sindhu's silver and Sakshi Malik's bronze, at the 2016 Rio Olympics. On being asked if the Coronavirus-enforced break would hamper the Indian athletes' chances at the Olympic Games, the IOA president replied in the negative.
"No, I don't think so. I am in touch with athletes who have qualified and the events we have qualified."
He added that based on the athletes who have already qualified, India should be competing for at least 41 medals at the Tokyo Olympics. He iterated that he would not predict the number of Golds but was sure of attaining the double-digit mark in the overall medal tally.
"Right now we should be competing in 41 medal positions as of today, based on sportspersons who have qualified in various events. I am confident that we should be touching double-digit, I won't mention the colour."
A total of 74 Indian athletes have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2021. This includes team sports like hockey, where the Indian men's and women's teams have already made the grade.
This number is expected to go up as the qualification period has been extended for all sports. India would be predominantly looking at shooting, wrestling, boxing, badminton and weightlifting as the 'medal prospect' sports at the Tokyo Olympics.
On the likelihood of the Tokyo Olympics being held next year
Dr. Batra expressed his utmost confidence that the Tokyo Olympics will be held next year. He added that he was giving his views as the IOA president and not as a member of the IOC.
"I will answer all your questions as IOA president. I definitely see the Olympics happening next year, I see no reason why they should not happen."
He cited the improvement in COVID conditions across the world, and hopes that most of the countries would be free from the virus in the next few months.
"Simple example is New Zealand, which is entirely Covid-free. In France, Italy and Spain the loads have gone down and they should also be Covid-free in next few months. Right now maximum peaking is in USA, Brazil, Russia and India, I think most of the other countries have started coming down."
Published 12 Jun 2020, 16:22 IST