With a month to go for the Olympics, here’s a quick look at where Indian athletes stand with respect to preparation...
Appears to be the most well prepared of the lot. Managed to go to Croatia even as the country was in full lockdown to contain the virus. Have put in hard yards in training and also took part in the European Championships last month. They’ll also get good competition in Osijek World Cup, beginning today.
In a marked departure from recent times, have selected teams without the advantage of watching them play in international competitions. Potential exposure trips fell through and both sides have been at the SAI campus in Bengaluru. Could further be affected if new quarantine norms hold.
The likes of Neeraj Chopra (javelin) have managed to win a few low quality events as they build up to Tokyo. Kamalpreet Singh (discus) and Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (shot put) have created new national records. All eyes will now be on the relay teams to see if they qualify.
Athletes: 11 quali-fied, more likely
Have enjoyed a serene build-up including winning a record haul at the Asian Championships recently. Have also managed to multiple exposure camps including one as of now. But could be another group that will be affected if the new requirements to physically distance are not changed.
Recently went on a training-cum-competition trip to Poland where a few including medal hope Vinesh Phogat won gold. Bajrang gave it a miss and is training in Russia. It’s likely that the plan for many is to leave for Tokyo from India. Even if eight qualified, one — Sumit Malik — tested dope positive.
Lack of events and Covid-related travel restrictions have made life hard. Plans have constantly changed. There will be a camp in Sonepat next month before leaving for Tokyo. Apart from the Olympic qualifiers, none of them have any competitive match practice and that could be a concern.
After the records of the last few editions, the team hasn’t been able to send maximum members partly due to a lack of performance and partly due to Covid-induced tournament cancellations. Have been training at the main stadium in Hyderabad to get a feel of playing at an arena.
A bit of watershed moment for the sport irrespective of what results they will bring in. All four — Vishnu Saravanan, Nethra Kumanan, Ganapathy Chengappa, Varun Thakkar — training in Europe. They have gone on record to say they will take this Olympics as an experience before going hard in 2024.
The women’s recurve team fluffed their lines in Paris recently and missed a chance to send the full contingent. The full compliment of the men will be there. They have won a few medals and will be expected to challenge. But archery has seen athletes lose their bearings in a pressure cooker situation.
The Swimming Federation of India has nominated Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel to compete in the Olympics via the Universality places qualification system, which allows nations to recommend two swimmers if none makes the cut through normal process.
Athletes: Clarity later