The Olympics buzz is here to stay for a few weeks, and we have a lot to look forward to. We are all waiting for new records, new champions and new tales of glory. Ask any sportsperson worth his salt, and his ultimate goal is to achieve an Olympics medal.
There are many firsts happening this time- it is the first time a South American country is hosting the Olympic Games, the first time Rugby Sevens will be a part of the Games and the first time India has sent such a large contingent for Olympic Games.
Since 2012 London Olympics, the Indian govt. and Sports Authority of India took special initiatives to improve training facilities for athletes and the results are here for all to see. More than 100 athletes have qualified for the Games this year. However, whether Indian athletes will create history this year is something that only time will tell.
Will the final medal tally for India prove the reputation of Indians being unathletic people wrong? Though there are names like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Anhinav Bindra, Leander Paes, Jwala Gutta, Rohan Bopanna, Yogeshwar Datt, Dutee Chand, PV Sindhu and Jitu Rai, who have been performing well at various international events, Olympic Games are the real acid test, not meant for just world class, but for the best in the world.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team has made a comeback after 36 years, and though it has raised our hopes, we cannot be sure if they will be able to hold their own against strong opponents. They rank 13th in the world, and managed a draw with Japan (2-2). Rani Rampal and Lilima Minz scored goals in the second half, rallying from 0-2 in the first half. Their next match is with Britain.
No other encouraging news has been received from Rio de Janeiro after day 2, with the exception of Dipa Karmakar. Hopes are riding high as the gymnast from Tripura qualified for the individual vault finals yesterday. She is the first Indian woman gymnast to have achieved this feat. However, she needs a whole lot of cheering and prayers and a lot of hard work to finish among the top three in the sport.
Dipa performed the very difficult, but her signature, Produnova vault cleanly and secured 14.850 points after two attempts, and got herself a spot in the finals. She clinched the 8th position in the qualifying round and has a long way to go before she reaches the top three. Dipa is also the first Indian woman gymnast to have won a Commonwealth Games medal. Gymnastics is a sport where India has not yet won any medals and Dipa’s performance looks promising. She will play the fina, if she qualifies, on August 14.
Some more news- Heena Sandhu failed to qualify in the women’s 10m air pistol shooting event. Male shooters Manavjit Singh Sandhu, finishing 17th, and Kynan Chenai, finishing 19th, are headed to the second round of men’s trap shooting qualifications. The women’s archery team of Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi lost narrowly to Russia in the quarterfinals of their event.
- Anisha Kashwani