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Paris Olympics: Top 10 medal hopes for India

IANS | July 06, 2024 12:17 PM

NEW DELHI: The Paris Olympics are fast approaching and we're just 20 days away from the start of the world's biggest sporting carnival. India will be sending a contingent of close to 120 sportspersons to the Olympics, including an Athletics team led by the defending champion in the men’s javelin Neeraj Chopra, a 21-member Shooting team and a 16-member men’s hockey squad.

IANS takes a look at the Top 10 medal prospects for India based on their recent performance and fitness.

Neeraj Chopra (Javelin throw):

The javelin superstar Neeraj Chopra will strive to make history by becoming the first Indian athlete to win back-to-back gold medals. Chopra was last in action at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on June 18 and currently training in Germany. With a best throw of 85.97m, he won the gold medal there. This week's Paris Diamond League is not part of his competition calendar, meaning the next time he takes the field will be at the Olympics.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty (Badminton):

Satwik and Chirag haven't competed since the Singapore Open in May, where they lost in the first round. This has also affected their ranking as they dropped to World No. 3 from the top spot. The duo had narrowly missed out on a quarterfinal berth in the last Olympics despite winning two of their three group matches.

Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing):

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina was recently in action at the Grand Prix tournament in the Czech Republic. She lost two bouts and won once, which was enough for her to win silver. Along with Nikhat, she is also in Saarbrucken, Germany, for a month-long training camp. After finishing the camp on July 22, Lovlina will head to Paris in search of her second Olympic medal.

Men's hockey team:

Head coach Craig Fulton had recently named the final squad that will travel to Paris. As expected, Harmanpreet Singh will lead the side and PR Sreejesh will be the only goalkeeper in the team. The Men in Blue didn't have a great run in the Europe leg of the Pro League, which saw them finish seventh, only above Spain and Ireland. The team is currently training in Bengaluru and will fly to Switzerland soon for a team bonding camp. They are also expected to play a few friendlies before reaching Paris. India won a bronze medal in Tokyo after 41 years. Now, a bigger drought awaits them as the country has not won back-to-back medals at the Olympics since 1972 in Munich.

Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling):

Phogat will be in action soon when she competes in the Spain Grand Prix. Training in Bengaluru, she sought help from the Sports Ministry on Tuesday to help in her visa process and duly received the visa a few hours later. After the event in Spain, she will be off to France for a 20-day training stint in preparation for the Olympics. She was last in action at the Budapest Ranking Series in June, where she lost to China's Jiang Zhu 5-0 in the 50kg quarterfinals.

Nikhat Zareen (Boxing):

Nikhat, already a two-time world champion, will aim for greater glory in Paris where she will be making her Olympic debut. She was last in action at the Elorda Cup in May where she took top honours. At the moment, Nikhat along with five other boxers, is on a month-long training at the Olympic Centre in Saarbrucken, Germany. She will be there till July 22 and will then head to Paris.

PV Sindhu (Badminton):

Sindhu is currently training with her coach Agus Dwi Santoso and her team in Saarbrucken, Germany. She has not been in action since the Indonesia Open last month and hasn't been in prime form in her recent tournaments - losing in the early rounds of both the Singapore Open and Indonesia events - but remains among India's brightest medal hopes. If she medals in Paris, she would become India's most successful Olympian with three medals, after a silver in Rio 2016 and a bronze in Tokyo 2020.

Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting):

Mirabai is looking to get on the Olympic podium once again in Paris after her scintillating performance in Tokyo earned her a silver medal. It has not been an easy journey for Mirabai since the Tokyo glory as she endured a tough period due to injuries. Nevertheless, she's one of the strong favourites in her category in Paris and she can climb the podium if she lifts in the range of 200-210kgs. She has been training at the NIS Patiala and will be heading to France next week to acclimatise to the conditions before her big competition.

Sift Kaur Samra (Shooting):

Sift, the Asian Games gold medallist, made it to the Paris squad in women's 50m rifle 3 positions after outstanding performance in the four-stage Olympic selection trials. She was in action at the Munich World Cup earlier last month where she won the bronze medal, missing silver by only 0.1 point to Han Jiayu of China. She had recently finished a national camp in France and will be seen next at the Olympics.

Aditi Ashok (Golf):

Aditi will represent India for the third time at the Olympics. Her participation was never in doubt but was confirmed recently via Olympic Golf Rankings. Aditi, ranked 60th in the world, qualified for the Games as she was placed 24th. She has not been in great form as she failed to secure a top-10 finish this season but she'll be hoping to repeat her Tokyo heroics and also go a step further in terms of clinching a medal.

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