Tokyo 2020: India puts up its best ever show at Oylmpics
India won a record seven medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze) at Tokyo Olympics in six different disciplines. Its previous best was at 2012 London Olympics where it won six medals (2 Silver, 4 Bronze)
India won a record seven medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze) at the Tokyo Olympics in six different disciplines – Athletics, Wrestling, Hockey, Weightlifting, Badminton and Boxing; it’s best-ever performance at the Olympic Games. Its previous best was at the 2012 London Olympics, where India had finished with six medals (2 Silver and 4 Bronze).
From Neeraj Chopra’s golden throw to the historic podium finish in men’s hockey after 41 years, badminton star PV Sindhu’s second Olympic medal to weightlifter Mirabai Chanu’s silver, wrestlers Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia’s podium finish to boxer Lovina Borghain’s bronze, Tokyo Olympics has indeed been a memorable experience for India barring the performance of shooters.
There was heartbreak as well as the women’s hockey team, wrestler Deepak Punia and golfer Aditi Ashok finished fourth and narrowly missed out on a medal. The shocking losses of star boxers MC Mary Kom and Amit Pangal, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and the famed shooting duo of Saurabh Cahudhary and Manu Bhaker left Indian fans disappointed.
This was also India’s largest ever contingent at the Olympic Games consisting of 125 athletes (70 men and 55 women) wherein the country participated in 18 different sporting disciplines.
'Golden Boy' Neeraj Chopra created history when he won the country's first ever individual gold in athletics at the Olympic Games and thus became only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal after Abhinav Bindra. His ‘Golden Throw’ of 87.58m placed him first ahead of Jakub Vadlejch (86.67m) and Vítězslav Veselý (85.44m).
Kamalpreet Kaur finished at a creditable sixth position in Women's Discus Throw. It was only the third time ever that an Indian had reached the finals of Discus Throw event at the Olympic Games.
The Indian men's 4x400m relay team created a new Asian Record with a time of 3:00.25 but could not qualify for the finals as they finished ninth. Avinash Sable clocked 8:18.12 in men’s 3000m steeplechase to better his own national record of 8:20.20 but finished 13th overall to narrowly miss a place in the finals.
Wrestling has consistently given India a medal at the Olympic Games since 2008 and this time it was no different. Ravi Kumar Dahiya finished with a silver medal after losing 4-7 to World champion Zaur Uguev of Russia in a keenly-contested men’s 57kg freestyle final.
Bajrang Punia picked up India’s seventh wrestling medal at the Olympic Games as he clinched a bronze medal in men’s 65kg freestyle.
However, Deepak Punia was unlucky to miss out on a medal as he narrowly lost the bronze medal bout 1-3 to San Marino's Myles Nazim Amine in men's 86kg freestyle.
But, star wrestler Vinesh Phogat suffered a shocking loss in the quarter-finals of the women’s freestyle 53kg category to Vanesa Kaladzinskay of Belarus.
History was created at the Tokyo Olympics as the Indian men’s hockey team finished on the podium, after they clinched a bronze medal by defeating Germany 5-4 in a thrilling match. It was India’s first medal in hockey at the Olympic Games after 41 years.
The women’s hockey team did not disappoint either. They narrowly missed out on a medal after their 3-4 loss to Great Britain in the bronze-medal play off match. The team, which had defeated former World and Olympic Champions Australia enroute to semis, won many hearts with their courageous display.
India’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics came from Manipuri weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu after she managed a total lift of 202 kg (87kg in snatch + 115 kg in clean and jerk) to claim a silver medal in women's 49kg category. This was India’s only second weightlifting medal at the Olympics Games after Karnam Malleswari who had won bronze at 2000 Sydney Games.
Badminton star PV Sindhu scripted history at the Tokyo Olympics by becoming India's first ever woman athlete to win two individual medals at the Olympic Games. Sindhu finished third in women's singles event after beating China's He Bing Jiao in straight sets 21-13, 21-15 in the bronze medal play-off match. At last edition in Rio 2016, Sindhu had won a silver medal.
Lovlina Borgohain bagged India's only boxing medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The Assamese boxer won a bronze medal after she lost her semi-final bout to Turkish top seed Busenaz Surmeneli in women’s 69kg category. Pooja Rani (women’s 75kg category) and Satish Kumar (men’s 91+ kg category) lost their quarter-final bouts and thereby narrowly missed out on a medal.
The shock defeat of World No.1 Amit Phangal, former world champion MC Mary Kom and seasoned boxer Vikas Krishnan was disappointing.
The largest ever shooting contingent consisting of 15 members was expected to do bulk of the medal shopping for India at the Tokyo Olympics. However, their overall performance left Indian fans disappointed. For second successive Olympics, Indian shooters returned home empty handed.
Barring Saurabh Chaudhary, none of the shooters could even qualify for the finals. Young and talented shooters such as Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Deswal, Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Aishwary Tomar fared poorly.
Indian archers showed glimpses of their magic but concluded their campaign at Tokyo with yet another Olympics with no medals. The men’s team, the mixed team and World No.1 Deepika Kumari did well to reach the quarterfinals but were unable to progress beyond that.
It was heartbreak for golfer Aditi Ashok as she fell agonisingly short of a historic podium finish. The Bengaluru-based golfer, ranked 200th in the world, finished at a commendable fourth position behind Nelly Korda of the U.S.A., Mone Inami of Japan and New Zealand's Lydia Ko.
Paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra helped India witness it’s best-ever show in Table Tennis at the Olympic Games. They reached the third round of men’s singles and women’s singles event respectively. Never before had an Indian Table Tennis player reached so far at the Olympics.
Rowers Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh produced an impressive performance to become the first Indian pair to qualify for the semi-finals of rowing event at the Olympic Games. The duo finished 11th overall in Men's Lightweight Double Sculls.
India’s first ever fencer at the Olympic Games CA Bhavani Devi began her Olympic journey with a win but went down fighting 7 - 15 to World No. 3 Manon Brunet of France in the round of 32. The defeat may have come early but Bhavani Devi already has put Indian fencing on the Olympics map.
India also took part in other disciplines like gymnastics, swimming, sailing, tennis, equestrian and judo. But, the performance was below par to say the least.
Overall, it was a good showing by Indian athletes at Tokyo. No doubt, there were disappointments. The final medal tally could have been much better had our shooters, archers and boxers performed as per their justified world rankings.