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Should India Have Done Better at the Olympics?

Should India Have Done Better at the Olympics?
August 13
09:46 2021

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo finally took place over July and August of this year. With India sending a record number of athletes to the games, hopes were high that this would be the country’s finest Olympic moment.

How did the team get on and what could they have done better?

The First Athletics Gold Medal

A total of seven medals made their way to India, with the successful competitors returning to a hero’s welcome. Four were bronze and two were silver, with the single gold medal belonging to javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra. He threw his javelin a massive 87.58m to finish in first place in this event and add to his gold medals from the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asian Games.

This made Chopra the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in an athletics event. He also becomes only the second sportsperson from the country to win gold, with Abhinav Bindra previously claiming a gold medal in the 10-meter air rifle discipline at the 2008 games.

The Hockey Teams Look for a Return to the Glory Years

The Indian men’s hockey team dominated the Olympics for a long spell. This began in 1928 when they won all four games in Amsterdam without conceding a single goal. This meant that they won the gold medal, which was just the start of an incredible period of medals for the team.

The team won the next five Olympic golds, with a particularly memorable game being the 8-1 score against Germany in the 1936 Olympics final in Berlin. In fact, the Indian hockey team didn’t lose a game until 1960, with 30 victories in a row. They won their last gold medal in 1980, setting the current record of eight golds in this event.

While they have been unable to dominate the sport like before, the 2020 result suggests that they may be coming back to the top of the sport. The men’s team won bronze by beating Germany 5-4 in the third-place game, while the women’s team was 4th, which was their best result since their 1980 debut.

Those Who Came Close to a Gold

With over 100 competitors from Indian taking part in Japan, it is no surprise to see that there are some athletes who could have done better. If we look at those who claimed silver or bronze, many of them produced the performances of their lives and came close to scooping a gold medal.

Among them was female weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. She got India’s first medal at the event when she claimed silver in the 49kg category. Chanu did this by lifting an impressive 202kg and becoming the second Indian in history to get a weightlifting medal.

Badminton player P.V. Sindhu is another Indian woman who flew home with a medal in her luggage. She won bronze but was perhaps disappointed not to repeat or better her silver medal performance from Rio in 2016. Nevertheless, Sindhu is now only the second performer from the country to win an individual medal in two successive Olympics.

Lovlina Borgohain did well to reach the semifinal and earn bronze in female welterweight boxing, losing to eventual winner and world number one Busenaz SĂĽrmeneli. In wrestling, Ravi Kumar Dahiya got a silver medal and Bajrang Punia earned bronze.

Meanwhile, Fouhaad Mirza represented India in equestrian sports, ending in 23rd in the obstacles competition and on an honorable 9th place in dressage. This is another sport that India can invest since horse racing and horse-related sports are growing in popularity in the country.

India still doesn’t have racetracks like the Saratoga Race Track, but there is a possibility to improve the results by working alongside Mirza and training new jockeys.

A Look Ahead

Indian competitors did just about as well as we could have hoped for in the 2020 Olympics. Fans will now be looking forward to Paris in 2024, while the possible inclusion of cricket in future events should boost the country’s chances of claiming more medals.

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