India at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The games will kick off on 5 August 2016 and continue till 21August 2016. 146 countries have already qualified for the same and it is expected that 206 countries will take part in the same. At least 10,500 athletes are supposed to take part in the event and 306 events are supposed to be held in 28 different sports categories. This is also perhaps the first time when rugby sevens and golf will be played in an Olympic. The games are supposed to take place in 33 venues that are spread across four regions in the city such as Barra, Deodoro, Copacabana, and Maracana.
Expectations from India at Rio Olympics 2016
Decades ago, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had coined a phrase where he had said that participation was much more important than eventual victory. However, India has never really made up the numbers at what is arguably the greatest sporting spectacle on Earth. There was a period when, thanks to the likes of Dhyanchand, India completely dominated the field hockey scene. India has also won medals in tennis (Leander Paes), boxing (Vijender Singh and Mary Kom), shooting (Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Gagan Narang, and Abhinav Bindra), badminton (Sania Nehwal), and wrestling (Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt). The Indian football team also performed commendably in the Olympics during the earlier part of the last century.
While Vijender has turned pro and will never appear again for India in a boxing event, the rest are expected to take part and help India attain a higher position on the medals tally. It is expected that the likes of Sania Mirza and PV Sindhu who are yet to win medals for India will make the country proud this year. Deepika Kumari and Deepika Pallikal, immensely-capable and successful athletes, are also expected to be on the medals tally this year.
Which Indian Athletes will participate?
Several Indian athletes have already sealed their spots for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The list is provided below:
Women’s individual and team archery
Laxmi Rani Majhi
Men’s individual archery
Mangal Singh Champia
Men’s 20-km walk
Men’s 5- km walk
Women’s 20-km walk
Men’s shot put
Women’s shot put
Women’s 800 mts
Marathon/5000m steeple chase
Women’s 5000m steeple chase
Women’s 3000m steeple chase
50M free pistol
10M air rifle
50M rifle prone
10M air pistol
50M rifle 3 positions
Miraj Ahmed Khan
74kg freestyle wrestling
Additionally, the men’s and women’s field hockey team for India have qualified for the Olympics.
How are Indian athletes preparing for the Rio Olympics 2016?
The Indian Government has been helping the athletes get ready for the upcoming Olympics and the Target Olympic Podium scheme is a critical part of the same. However, the athletes themselves have been preparing for the quadrennial showpiece. Several athletes have been taking part at world-level events in order to get a taste of the challenges that await them at the Games. In some events like archery, hockey, shooting, and wrestling there are qualifying tournaments like World Archery Championships, Asian Games, World Hockey League, ISSF World Cup Series, and UWW World Championships that act as ideal preparation for the athletes.
India at the Olympics and its Global Relevance
India is a country of more than a billion people and one with immeasurable potential. However, that potential has never really been translated into performance. While India’s record in a team game like field hockey is comparatively better, its record in individual competition leaves a lot to be desired. Till date, there has been only one gold medalist – Abhinav Bindra. One feels – rather wishes – that the record only becomes better but given the unbelievable level of competition at the Olympics, it becomes quite hard at times. However, Olympics are also about taking part at a global stage and making your country proud. This is where Indian athletes have made a significant mark and will continue to do so in the days to come.
Dipa Karmakar becomes the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Rio Olympics
On 18 April 2016, the 22-year old, Tripura-based Indian woman gymnast, Dipa Karnamakar officially received the coveted ticket for the Rio Olympics. Having qualified for the finals of the vault, Dipa later won gold in the same. Previously, at the 2014 Asian Games, Karmakar finished fourth. Also, she won a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, followed by winning a bronze medal at the Asian Championships held in Hiroshima. Karmakar was also successful in reaching the final round of the 2015 World Championships where she finished fifth.