Which events serve as the final gateway to Tokyo Olympics for Indian athletes?

86 Indian athletes have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, with many more in contention.
86 Indian athletes have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, with many more in contention.

India will eye a historic medal haul when the Tokyo Olympics kicks off with the opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo on July 23. A sizeable number of athletes have already sealed Tokyo quotas, with many more in contention to qualify.

The threat of COVID-19 has thrown an unexpected wrinkle in the plans of athletes as they hope to bask in Olympic glory this summer. Many qualifying events have been postponed or canceled, leading to disruption of the athletes' training schedules and a lot of uncertainty.

Also Read: Tokyo Olympics: With under 100 days left, will India secure a century of berths at the Games?

Events that will determine Tokyo Olympics qualification for India

Most qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics will now continue through the end of June this year after COVID-19 threw most of the sporting calendars into a disarray.

Let's take a look at the list of events through which Indian athletes can qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

# Athletics

The country's track and field exponents are going the extra mile to seal Tokyo Olympic spots. As the qualification race across disciplines heats up, Indian athletes will aim for a good showing in the domestic and global meets lined up until the end of June.

Hima Das remains a bright prospect for India in the 400m with a personal best of 50.79s.
Hima Das remains a bright prospect for India in the 400m with a personal best of 50.79s.

India's sprint queens Hima Das and Dutee Chand will be keen to put on their best show when they compete in the women's 4x100m relay event at the World Athletics Relays on May 1 and 2. The top eight teams will be eligible for direct qualification at the Tokyo Olympics.

Track and field athletes will have another opportunity to qualify for Tokyo in the fourth and final leg of the Indian Grand Prix, beginning on June 15. The final track and field qualifying event will be the National Inter-State Senior Championships, scheduled to take place from June 25-29.

# Archery

With five quotas in their kitty, Indian archers have raised hopes of Olympic glory thanks to their improved performances over the past few years. However, the women's recurve team still awaits a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. It will have a shot at earning a quota in the final qualification tournament in Paris to be held from June 18-21.

# Badminton

The qualification chances for a few top Indian shuttlers are fast shrinking with several significant tournaments being delayed or called off due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. The India Open, one of the last three qualifying events, was recently postponed indefinitely due to rising COVID-19 cases in the national capital.

Former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth is placed 20th in the Race to Tokyo rankings.
Former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth is placed 20th in the Race to Tokyo rankings.

Last month, the world body extended the qualification period from April 25 to June 15. The Singapore Open will be the final qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be played from June 1-6. The rankings list released on June 15 will determine the qualifiers.

# Judo

India recently pulled out of the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifier after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Not all hopes are lost as they have two more chances of making the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Grand Prix event in Russia in May will serve as an Olympic qualifying event. If the judokas fail to qualify for the Olympics at the Russia meet, they will have a final go at securing an Olympic berth at the World Championships in June.

# Rowing

Indian rowers will have a shot at securing Olympic berths at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta, slated to be held from May 5 -7. The Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, which is scheduled to be held from May 16-18, will offer a final opportunity for Olympic qualification.

# Swimming

Six Indian swimmers have attained the 'B' qualification standard for the Tokyo Olympics in their respective events. They will be eager to make the 'A' cut to ensure a direct entry into the Games.

As no swimming events are scheduled to be held in India, the swimmers will eye a good showing at the meets in east Asia to qualify for the Games. They have time till June 27 to meet the qualification standard.

# Taekwondo

Indian taekwondo athletes will be eager to make a mark at the Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification tournament to be held from May 21-22. No Indian taekwondo athlete has ever qualified for the Olympics.

# Tennis

Much like badminton, tennis opts for a ranking-based qualification process for the Olympics. India's participation will be determined on the basis of the ATP and WTA rankings released on June 7.

# Weightlifting

With the Asian Weightlifting Championships coming to an end last week, the Indian weightlifters will now have to rely on their world rankings to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

# Wrestling

With six Olympic berths in their kitty, Indian wrestlers look well-equipped to mount a tough challenge in Tokyo this summer. India will be hoping to book a few more berths at the World Qualifiers in May, which will be the final qualifying event in the discipline.

Also Read: Best Olympics ever for India? Here is the full list of medal prospects at Tokyo Olympics

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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