Tokyo 2020 Olympics has come to a close and India had an absolute fairytale finish with Neeraj Chopra bringing home independent India’s first-ever gold in track and field. With a grand total of seven medals, it was India’s best-ever finish in the Olympics, surpassing the previous best of six during the 2012 London Olympics.  

India was well on course for quite a few more with opportunities in boxing, table tennis, shooting and archery to achieve a podium finish. However, all did not go as expected.

We take a look at three occasions when Indian athletes came close to a podium finish in their respective disciplines and instead fell heartbreakingly short.

Deepak Punia (Wrestling)

Deepak Punia was stunned in the men’s freestyle 86kg bronze medal match by San Marino’s Myles Nazim Amine who came from behind in the dying minutes to race home to a 4-2 advantage. The 22-year old Indian who was in control for a major part of the bout produced a questionable defensive approach towards the end that was responsible for him not being able to hold on to the lead. Punia was left visibly shocked at the end and missed out on a well-deserved bronze that would have cheered up a massive amount of Indian fans. 

Aditi Ashok (Golf)

Golfer Aditi Ashok turned out to be the dark horse from the Indian golfing contingent at Tokyo 2020. She created waves with her performances for the first three days by consistently staying in the top three before falling out of the podium contention as the event drew to a close. She was there in the contention of winning the bronze for a major part of her campaign but fell agonisingly short and ending up at the fourth place. 

Indian women’s hockey team

Tokyo 2020 saw the best of Indian women’s hockey come forward and show the world where they stand in terms of talent and potential. After putting up a masterly effort to hold on to their 1-0 lead against Australia in the quarter-final and stun the world, the team competed for a medal for the first time in its history. The 16-member squad was on the verge of making history and claiming a medal but happened to lose 4-3 to Rio 2016 gold medalists Great Britain in a closely fought bronze medal match.

Featured photo : Hockey India