Indian eves in Olympics: Looking forward and blasts from the past…

Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza

Mumbai: It is indeed a proud moment for India as it is for the first time a bunch of more than 100 participants will represent India at the Rio De Janeiro Olympics commencing on August 5. The contingent is said to be India’s best ever which also includes 46 women competitors.

When one thinks about the contributions of women in India’s Olympic quest, PT Usha is the first name that comes to the mind, reminding us of the Los Angeles Olympics heroics in 1984. Though Usha failed to win a medal by a whisker, she won all hearts back home.

The dream of winning a medal in the highest podium of games by an Indian woman was fulfilled only in 2000 Sydney Olympics when Karnam Malleswari won the bronze medal in 69 kg weightlifting category. Women have come a long way in the Olympics with real achievers like Saina Nehwal (Badminton) and Mary Kom (Boxing) making permanent entries into the medal winners’ book.

Apart from Olympics, each of these players literally dominated the circuit in their respective fields for years. Despite Sania Mirza’s clout in the professional circuit, she is still without an Olympics medal. A medal in 2016 will fill up the vacant space in her cabinet.

Come August, the qualification of 20-year-old Dutee Chand, who emerged from the eastern state of Odisha, has raised medal hopes for 2016 edition. The woman sprinter will compete in 100 metres while another woman S Nanda will vie for the honors in 200 metres.

While Sania and Saina will have another shy at the podium in Rio, Mary Kom though won’t get that opportunity. After failing qualify, the Indian pugilist has been denied a wild card for the same.
It wasn’t purely Mary Kom’s fault for her denial of the wildcard entry but The Indian government, who has been neglecting it for quite long.

The Indian Boxing was under a serious cloud of controversy since 2013 and there has also been virtually no organising federation in the country. The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation was banned by the International Boxing Federation in 2013 for manipulating election results.

Though very strong on paper, India will miss the presence of Mary Kom who performed exceptionally well in the 2012 summer Olympics and the 2014 Asian Games. Women being the strong part of the team will still have it’s strongest member missing.

MC Marykom

MC Marykom

Nonetheless for their exceptionally well performances at the qualifiers for Olympics, Sportscrunch brings you the list of Women participants representing India in the August gathering:

Archery: Deepika Kumari, Laxmirani Majhi, Bambayla Devi.
Athletics: Seema Antil (Discus Throw), Manpreet Kaur (Discus throw), Lalita Babar (3000m Steeplechase), Tintu Luka (800m), Kavita Raut (Marathon), Sudha Singh (Marathon), O.P.Jaisha (Marathon), Khusbir Kaur (Walk), Sapna Punia (Walk), Dutee Chand (Women’s 100m), Srabani Nanda (Women’s 200m)
Badminton: Saina Nehwal (Women’s Singles), P.V. Sindhu (Women’s Singles), Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa (Women’s doubles)
Gymnastics: Dipa Karmakar
Hockey: Women’s Team- 16 members
Shooting: Apurvi Chandela, Heena Sidhu, Ayonika Paul
Table Tennis: Manika Batra, Mouma Das
Tennis: Sania Mirza (Women’s doubles and Mixed Doubles), Prarthana Thombare (Women’s doubles)
Weightlifting: Saikom Mirabai Chanu (48 kg)
Wrestling: Sakshi Malik (60kg), Babita Kumari (55kg), Vinesh Phogat (48kg)

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