India capped off their most successful outing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with its first ever gold medal in athletics, courtesy Neeraj Chopra. Tokyo 2020 is India’s best campaign till date with a total tally of seven medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze).
As the quadrennial event draws to a close after two weeks of pulsating action and adrenaline rushes across disciplines, let’s take a look at the medal winners who braved the odds and brought glory to the nation.
Mirabai Chanu (Silver)
The 27-year old Saikhom Mirabai Chanu opened India’s medal count with a silver on the very first day of Tokyo 2020. She lifted a total of 202 kgs to seal a silver for the nation in the women’s 49g category in weightlifting.
PV Sindhu (Bronze)
Rio 2016 silver medalist PV Sindhu fought her way to the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 after defeating China’s He Bingjiao 21-13 21-15 in straight sets. She was tipped to be a strong gold medal contender but her semi-final loss to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying 21-18 21-12 hampered her chances and had to eventually settle for the bronze. With this, she became India’s most decorated female Olympian to win two individual medals.
Lovlina Borgohain (Bronze)
The 19-year old Lovlina Borgohain stunned one and all with her performances in the women’s welterweight boxing and steadily rose towards performances worthy of a podium finish. She lost out to Turkey’s Busenaz Surmenali in the semi-final to lay her hands on the bronze. Also, she became the first medalist from the state of Assam and the only Indian boxer to win a medal at Tokyo 2020.
India Men’s Hockey team (Bronze)
Tokyo 2020 has been a revival of sorts for Indian men’s hockey team as they entered the top four after a gap of 41 years. They lost to Belgium 5-2 in the semi-final to put an end for a probable top two finish but played a great game of counter-attacking hockey to pip Germany 5-4 in the bronze medal play-offs. In a heart-warming gesture, Indian captain Manpreet Singh dedicated the Olympic bronze to doctors and COVID-19 frontline warriors back home and everywhere else in the world. India’s last noteworthy performance came at the 1980 Moscow Olympics where they won a gold which makes their current campaign all the more precious.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Silver)
Another silver lining in India’s wrestling was 23-year old Ravi Kumar Dahiya. He won the semi-final round in the dying stages of the bout against Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev and went on to meet ROC’s Zavur Uguev in the gold medal match. The Indian lost 7-4 and took home the silver but displayed a great amount of grit and determination in all his bouts, making him the one to watch out for in the future.
Bajrang Punia (Bronze)
India’s wrestling hopes were primarily pinned on the 27-year old Bajrang Punia in the men’s freestyle 65kg category. Though he could not get past the semi-final, he brought his A-game to the fore by securing a bronze by winning 8-0 against Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov.
Neeraj Chopra (Gold)
All eyes were fixed on the 23-year debutant Neeraj Chopra as soon as he had qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. For a nation that had not gained an Olympic track and field medal for over a hundred years, it was a watershed moment when Chopra clinched gold for the first time in the nation's history with a javelin throw of 87.58m in the finals. The javelin thrower dedicated his win to the legendary late Milkha Singh whose last wish was to see an Indian athlete winning an Olympic gold medal in athletics. The medal also took India’s Tokyo 2020 medal tally to seven, their most successful Games ever. He also became only the second Indian to top the podium after India’s Abhinav Bindra in 2008.
Featured photo : Press Handout