As India began their Olympics journey today with Deepika Kumari participating in the ranking rounds alongside the mixed Archery team, all the Indians will be setting their eyes on the contention for the hallowed medals.
It is something that is not won at a canter, but it is based on years of hard work, sacrifice and persistence. In today’s story, we will be taking a look at India’s iron women, who are extremely bright medal-winning prospects in the imminent Olympics.
To shake things up on a bumpy note, India will have a fretful frown on their visages already as both Deepika Kumari was ranked 9th out of 12 competitors while the mixed Indian team shared a similar fate too.
Let’s just hope that it is an initial hiccup and India will shortly be recovering from the jolt and fight back strongly. This will be our best bet on the clique of the women who can brave all odds and win a medal for the nation.
1. Deepika Kumari
The recently formed pair of Deepika and her husband Atanu will augur exciting times for the Indian mixed doubles team in archery.
However, focusing on Deepika alone, she is currently the number one archer in the world. She recently dished out a clinical showdown at the planetary level with 3 gold medals at the 2021 Paris World Cup.
Her expertise over the past decade will play a very crucial role in shaping up her dream of an individual Olympic medal. If not a gold, we would expect her to bag a silver despite the staggering obstacles in the form of South Korea.
2. Vinesh Phogat
If the injury doesn’t again play spoilsport in Vinesh’s Olympic dreams, this is almost an assured gold for India. She is currently the fastest wrestler in the World, and her pain in the last quadrennial extravaganza laced with her tenacity to make a comeback will make her a hefty medal contender.
She is ranked as the top-seed in the 53 kg women’s category that will also star the likes of Sweden’s Sofia Mattson, China’s Pang Qianyu, America’s Jacarra Winchester and her Japanese arch-enemy, Mayu Mukaida.
Despite multiple factors converging on the big day to decide the winner, going by the preceding reputation, Phogat has the best chances of winning India another medal in grappling.
So far Vinesh Phogat has only been beaten by Mukaida on three different occasions out of all the competitors and yet going by the rankings, it is highly unlikely that these two will be crossing swords before the final.
3. Mirabai Chanu
The withdrawal of North Korea from the Olympics has arrived as harbinger of good news for many athletes. However, if someone benefits the most from this sudden withdrawal of Korea, it is none other than India’s elite weight-lifter, Mirabai Saikom Chanu.
The recent statistics put Mirabai Chanu in the fourth spot with China’s Hou Zhihui, Ziang Huihua and North Korea’s Ri-Sing Gum. However, much to the pleasant surprise of Mirabai, North Korea withdrew from the extravaganza while China can only send one weight-lifter. This brings the Indian elite within touching distance of the medal.
However, a major point of concern for her will be a sore back, from which she recuperated recently and then went on to create a world record in the clean and jerk category lifting 118 kgs.
4. Manu Bhakker
The recently announced mixed team in 10m Air Pistol saw India fielding the remarkable duo of Manu Bhakker and Saurabh Chaudhary.
Both these shooters have been in blistering form since 2019, having won the World Cup gold medals at New Delhi, Beijing, Munich, Rio and New Delhi again.
Their most scintillating showdown arrived in the recently concluded event at New Delhi that saw the duo staging a miraculous turnaround
Bhakker and Chaudhary rallied from behind to draw them level at 12-12 and then fire home an incredible 10.7 and 10.5 each to win the event comprehensively by a 0.7 margin.
Another couple of dark horses that must be named are Apurvi Chandela and Yashaswini Deswal who can go onto triumph the very best in the world on their heydays.
5. Mary Kom
Mary Kom has been a consistent threat to the world with an incredible legacy that she has built over the years in the ring. Her endurance multiplied by her stinging punches make her a hot-favourite to bag a medal in the extravaganza.
Ever since her shift to the 52-kg weight category, Kom has managed to win gold medals at the India Open and the President’s Cup in 2019.
She also notched up the bronze at the 2019 World Cup, bronze at the Olympic qualifiers, bronze at the Boxam invitation this March and a silver at the Asian Championship.
Despite her recent losses to Nazym Kyzaibay, Chang Yuan, Busenaz Cakiroglu and Virginia Fuchs, it won’t be a deterrent for the experienced Kom.
Lovlina Borgohain, PV Sindhu, Kamalpreet Kaur, Elavenil Valarivan.