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On August 8, 2021, The Tokyo Olympics 2020, postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, concluded with its traditional closing ceremony.
We all can agree on the fact that Tokyo Olympics 2020 wasn’t easy for any player, regardless of their contingent, because of the bio bubble and restrictions that they had to adhere to.
Yet, despite these challenges, the 124 players in the Indian Contingent displayed one of the best performances of India in the Olympics.
Be it Neeraj Chopra, who became the first athlete to win a GOLD medal in Olympics for India or the optimum performance by the Indian 4x400m Relay team, creating the Asian record or the display of strength by Mirabai Chanu, winning a silver medal for Weightlifting or the Men’s hockey team bronze medal after four decades, the list of achievements goes on and on!
Seven Warriors & Ninjas of India of the Tokyo Olympics
We wouldn’t be statistically and optimistically wrong if we regard this as the best performance of India at the Olympics.
When we say that we won’t be optimistically wrong, it translates to the improvements in sports that many of us have not even heard of, such as Discus Throw, Golf, and many more!
Even though the players missed the medals in these games by a whisker, the performances of Aditi Ashok (Golfer) & Kamalpreet Kaur(Discus Thrower) have paved an illuminated path of these sports disciplines in India.
Statistically, we finished at the 48th position as per the metrics of the Olympic Ranking System.
The number of gold medals determines the ranking of a country won in that particular year.
On the other hand, going by the total number of medals(Gold, Silver, Bronze), with around seven medals in the Summer Olympics 2020, India finished at the 33rd position.
Considering both the rankings, the Tokyo Olympics 2020, also called Summer Olympics 2020, had been the best for our nation.
Although every player in the Indian Contingent strained their nerves to win a medal for the nation in their respective sports disciplines, the seven medallists who managed to pull it off are as follows:
|Name of the Athlete/Sportsperson||Sports Discipline||Medal|
|Neeraj Chopra||Javelin Throw||Gold|
Category: 49 Kg(Women’s)
|Ravi Kumar Dahiya||Wrestling
Category: 57 Kg(Men’s)
Category: 65 Kg(Men’s)
|P.V. Sindhu||Badminton(Women’s Single)||Bronze|
|Lovlina Borgohain||Welterweight Boxing(Women’s)||Bronze|
|Indian Men’s Hockey Team||Hockey||Bronze|
Mindset Shift after Tokyo Olympics
As the renowned author John C. Maxwell quotes, “Sometimes you WIN, Sometimes you LEARN,” the Olympics 2020 gave us the taste of both, to the players and to the audience.
Besides the wins, learnings, and the bright future of many sports disciplines, the Tokyo Olympics was successful in causing a paradigm shift in the mindset of the audience towards the event.
Remember the day when most of us felt the nostalgia of watching ‘Chak De India’ when the Women’s Hockey Team defeated Australia Women’s Hockey team and made their way to the semi-finals of the Olympics?
Usually, the Twitter trends, hashtags, and overall hype remain high whenever the Indian Cricket Team goes to play against any team.
On 4th August, the Second Test match between India & England started, and on the same day, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team semi-final was scheduled.
To everyone’s shock, the Women’s Hockey Team garnered more attention on social media and streaming platforms than Cricket!
Although the Women’s Hockey Team was defeated in the semifinals by Argentina, the consistent support of the Indians indeed indicates a paradigm shift where a sport doesn’t get neglected or sidelined.
Future of some unheard sports
The 2020 Olympics also signified and shed light on the development of sports in India compared to our previous performances in the Olympics.
For instance, Golfer Aditi Ashok who finished at the 41st position in the Rio Olympics 2016; finished 4th and missed a Bronze/Silver medal by a single shot in the Tokyo Olympics.
Besides Aditi, Discus Thrower Kamalpreet Kaur also left no stone unturned in putting her best foot forward in the game and finished sixth with an attempt of 64.00m.
Similarly, CA Bhavani Devi, who also happens to be the First Fencer from India to qualify for the Olympics, introduced Fencing as a sport to the majority of people in India.
Chadalavada Anandha Sundararaman Bhavani Devi, or CA Bhavani Devi, often gets mistaken as a Chartered Account turned athlete because of her initials.
Among the three forms, Foil, Epee & Sabre, CA Bhavani Devi fences, Sabre, the fastest form of Fencing.
Like Aditi & Kamalpreet, CA Bhavani Devi also couldn’t win a medal for the nation and lost in her second round. But the commonality among the all three discussed, and any player who couldn’t win a medal, is that they put India on the map in their sports disciplines.
Also, through ideals such as Aditi Ashok, CA Bhavani Devi, and Kamalpreet Kaur, a discussion has begun on sports that were unheard of in the past.
Their efforts, indirectly, would inspire thousands of aspiring sportspersons to work hard and build their path to the Olympics in future.
What if our stars could not make it to the podium, but they have made it to the touching distance of honour and glory.
As we have mentioned earlier, whether any player won a medal or not, their journey cannot be compared.
All the players of the Indian contingent had to face their share of struggles and adversaries to reach the Olympics.
Given the endless list and untraceable inspiring journeys, as much as we want to, we cannot put forward the story of every player, but here’s our handpicked top five sportspersons/athletes who have changed the face of India at the Olympics for good.
- The Golden Boy, Neeraj Chopra: Neeraj’s journey from being obese to representing India at the Olympics and putting its best athletic performance, till date, is worth reading. Almost everyone in India became emotional when Neeraj’s golden throw of 87.58m had made him win the Gold Medal. It was perhaps the first time since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where Abhinav Bindra won the Gold medal.
If you are wondering where you should read more about him, we’ve got it covered in our previous article.
NEERAJ CHOPRA – JOURNEY FROM OBESITY WARRIOR TO ATHLETIC GOLD MEDAL!.
- Setting the example of a comeback, Mirabai Chanu: Ever felt dejected because of some undesirable outcome and felt like quitting?
In that case, we are sure that Mirabai Chanu’s journey from almost quitting Weightlifting after her loss at Rio Olympics 2016 to winning a Silver Medal at the Summer Olympics 2020 would surely inspire you to make an even stronger comeback!
To read about the struggles she faced, her state of mind after the Rio Olympics, and preparation for the 2020 Olympics, do check our article on the same!
MIRABAI CHANU: WIN A OLYMPIC MEDAL FOR INDIA IN WEIGHTLIFTING AFTER 20 YEARS!.
- From struggling in athletics to becoming a world-class archer, Pravin Jadhav: Belonging from a drought-prone area of Satara, Maharashtra, Pravin arched his way to the Olympics through the clutches of poverty.
The discussion of Pravin’s journey without mentioning his PE teacher, Vikas Bhujbal, supported him financially and morally.
He defeated the World No. 2 archer Galsan Bazarchapov in the Tokyo Olympics by 6-0. Although he later got eliminated in the knockout stage, his splendid performance is powerful enough to induce a ray of hope for the aspiring athletes in the remotest district of India. To dive deep into Pravin’s journey, do read our article on the same!
- Paving a robust future of Golf in India, Aditi Ashok: From finishing at the 41st position at the 2016 Rio Olympics to 4th position at 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Aditi Ashok’s game has improved multi-folds.
Even though she missed a medal by a whisker, to be precise only by a margin of one shot, her performance was the best, considering previous performances of India in Golf at the Olympics.
If you are interested in reading more about the current best Indian Golfer, do read our article!
CAN, ADITI ASHOK BE THE NEXT GOLD MEDALIST FROM INDIA IN OLYMPICS 2024?
- From training with gas cylinders to winning bronze in Women’s Welterweight Boxing, Lovlina Borgohain: Besides adversely affecting the healthcare systems, the pandemic also hampered the training period of the Olympians.
The story of Lovlina Borgohain, winner of a bronze medal in Women’s Welterweight Boxing, is an example that the barrier of ‘lack of resources’ diminishes in front of determination and dedication. Lovlina, the first woman boxer from Assam to qualify for the Olympics, prepared using domestic resources such as LPG Cylinders for her game at the Olympics.
To read a full-fledged article on Lovlina Borgohain and her journey to the Olympics, check our article on the same!
Struggle of Athletes
One will inevitably feel proud of our nation after going through our performance in the recent Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But, some painful facts about the players who represented India at an International level tone down that feeling a little bit.
During the lockdown period, there came umpteen stories of players of both International & National Level, struggling miserably due to financial crunches.
Decathlete turned fruit seller, Ali Ansari.
With his last bronze medal win in the 2019 Asian Youth Athletics Championships, the decathlete Ali Ansari resorted to selling fruits in Delhi, owing to the financial crisis due to COVID-19.
As per the reports in the public domain, Ali Ansari highlighted that he had no option other than to quit his athletics to ensure two squares of meal for his family’s survival.
Through highlighting the plight of the player, we DO NOT intend to initiate a blame game. Instead, we want to start a conversation that could help such players, who once represented us in their sports disciplines.
Ray of Hope
As they say, for every dark night, there’s a brighter day. While discussing the financial struggles and lack of equipment for athletes, organisations such as GoSports Foundation, JSW Sports, Olympic Gold Quests act as a ray of hope.
Even though both the central and state governments run several schemes such as TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) etc., to aid the sportspersons in every possible way, these private foundations’ support pushes the pace of preparation a mile further.
- GoSports Foundation: Conceptualised in 2008, GoSports Foundation is a non-profit organisation, working relentlessly to provide various scholarships and professional guidance to the sportspersons across multiple sports disciplines.
Aditi Ashok, Kamalpreet Kaur, and CA Bhavani Devi were among the few Olympians supported by the GoSports Foundation.
- JSW Sports: Through its Sports Excellence Program(SEP), JSW Sports provides athletes with financial support and world-class training.
The SEP provides the athletes with financial assistance and opportunities to train with world-class instructors at Olympic training sites.
In the Tokyo Olympics 2020, JSW supported several players, including the Gold medallist Neeraj Chopra and Bronze medallist Bajrang Punia.
STRENGTH DOES NOT COME FROM VICTORY BUT FROM YOUR ABILITY OF NOT TO SURRENDER BEFORE HARDSHIPS