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Rio Olympics 2016: Why the opening few days are very important for India

A look at why the opening few days are absolutely vital for India.

Feature 05 Aug 2016, 13:27 IST
Jitu Ri will hope to give India a good start

It is said that “ A good beginning is half the battle won”. For the Indian Olympic contingent heading to Rio De Janerio for the 31st edition of the Olympic Games, it is a line that they will do well to keep in mind.

With under a day to go for the start of competition, the Indian athletes will surely with quietly confident about their chances, but will know that they will be up against some of the best athletes from the globe.

Early medal vital to India’s progress

In the past, success at the Olympics didn’t perhaps mean as much for an Indian supporter as much it does today. And for fair reason as well. The athletes from the country have won nine indivdual medals in the last edition of the three games and so, there is a reason for the fans to feel optimistic about India’s chances in Brazil.

Unlike countries like Unites States of America, Great Britain or even China, who have this tradition of returning home with a rich haul of medals, India needs motivation to do well. It needs a push, a burst of energy that would sustain until the end.

And so the upcoming few days of competition become absolutely vital if India are to shine and create a mark for themselves. One look at the success tasted by our athletes at the previous two Olympics would give you a better picture.

India won, what was then- a record haul of 3 medals in Beijing in 2008 and the foundation for that performance was laid by Abhinav Bindra, who clinched the historic gold medal in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle medal. That medal came as early as the third day of competition and it set the tone, for what was to be a fine 14 days for the contingent with Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar winning the bronze in boxing and wrestling.

In London 2012, the team doubled that tally and once again, the momentum for the two weeks was set early on ,when Gagan Narang bagged the bronze in the 10m Air Rilfle event in the 3rd day of competition. 

That performance helped India get the momentum for the remainder of the competition and they put forth a terrific performance with a total of 6 medals.

If one has a look at what is lined up for the Indians in the next few days, then there surely is a reason to feel optimistic about. The opening day sees two Women shooters compete in the 10m Air Rifle event and Jitu Rai features in the 10m Air Pistol event.

Each of them has been a consistent performer in various other events and although the Olympics will be a different ball game altogether, it certainly isn’t beyond their reach to stand on the podium at Rio.

On Monday, the veterans Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang will also be in action and they too stand a chance to get a medal.

India are taking a contingent as large as 118 athletes to Brazil and it will be intrguing to see how they perform on the biggest stage of them all. The hype towards this campaign has been huge, now it’s time for the athletes to live up to that.

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