Over the years, the sports culture in India has been gearing up gradually, which is a healthy sign for the overall development of the sporting activity in our nation. In fact, India has made a steady progress in many sports disciplines during this period. The ‘Khelo India scheme’ and other concrete steps by the government have revived the sporting culture across the country which was missing earlier on. With these programmes, the youth of the country have got lots of inspiration, financial support, availability of top-class infrastructure and quality coaches to learn and participate in diverse sports. No wonder then that their spirit and potential are now unveiling in the world arena.
Grappler Deepak Punia qualifies for Olympics
Winning medals in world championships is not everybody’s cup of tea; rather it’s like climbing Mt. Everest. Of late, Indian wrestlers and boxers have made the entire country proud with their stupendous performances. Indian wrestlers left the mat with pride in the world championship at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Deepak Punia made history and became the youngest Indian wrestler to reach the World Championships finals at 20 years of age.
Punia settles for silver in World Championship
Deepak Punia had to fight in the men’s 86 kg final at the World Wrestling Championships against Iranian Hassan Yazdani. But fortune was not smiling for the youngster, as his campaign ended with an injury. He was forced to withdraw from the gold medal bout due to not recovering on time and had to be satisfied with the silver. Heartbroken Deepak was disappointed for not fighting in the final due to injury. But this is a part and parcel of a sportsperson’s life. With his breath-taking performance, Deepak has secured 2020 Olympic berth for the country.
Afterwards, dejected Deepak said, “I suffered an injury during my first bout. My left leg is still swollen. I wanted to win a gold medal for my country but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I thought I will recover in time but failed to recover.”
Rahul bags bronze
Rahul Aware, another wrestler from Maharashtra, also brought laurels for the country. In the 61 kg category at the World Wrestling Championship, he overpowered USA’s Tyler Graff 11-4 and secured the bronze medal. Despite trailing 0-2 in the beginning, Rahul came back strongly, showed his sharp and shrewd skills and surpassed Graff by 11-4.
Buoyed by earlier success
Prior to this, veteran Indian wrestler and twice Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar had bagged the gold medal in 66 kg at the World Championship 2010 held in Moscow. Although India’s previous best show came in 2013, when three Indian wrestlers returned home with medals around their necks. Amir Dahiya (silver), Bajrang Punia (bronze) and Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (bronze in Greco-Roman) performed splendidly on the wrestling mat which led to the popularity of this sport in the country.
Panghal creates history
Apart from wrestlers, Indian boxers were also not behind in shining on the world stage. They were not ‘pulling any punches’ in the world championship, simultaneously being held in Russia not far away from Kazakhstan. In spite of his heroic performance, Amit Panghal lost 52 kg final against Uzbekistan’s reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov by 0-5, and had to settle for the silver medal. But Panghal’s performance was worth its weight in gold. He scripted his name in the record book and became the first Indian male boxer to bag a silver medal in the boxing world championship.
Kaushik stands on podium
Manish Kaushik also fought gallantly and pocketed the bronze medal. This was India’s best ever show with two medals in such a prestigious competition. These two medal winners have provided a new lease of life to boxing in the country. Youngsters must take some inspiration and start taking up boxing all over the country in big numbers.
Consistency key to success
Panghal is undoubtedly India’s most consistent pugilist in the recent past. In 2018, he obtained gold medal in the Asian Games, and silver medal at the Commonwealth games as well. Consistent good performance has made this boxer different from others. Whenever he arrives in the ring, his aim is to perform to the best of his ability and win a medal for the country. Panghal has been improving day by day. Therefore, the day is not far when he will achieve his dream of getting gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Road to Tokyo
ll the top athletes are eyeing next year’s Tokyo Olympics. India has tremendous chance from these bright prospects to bring a bagful of medals from the next Olympics. Currently, Indian players are playing with great purpose and energy and matching the best in the world.
PV Sindhu in badminton, and Manu Bhaker along with Saurabh Chaudhary recently claimed 10m air pistol gold in world cup shooting in Brazil. The scintillating performance of Indian shooters helped the country finish on top of all the four ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup stages this year. They, along with several players from the other disciplines, are a great hope for India to bring the most coveted medals from the Tokyo Olympics.