The Olympic Games 2012 are just a month away now. London is ready to welcome the world to be a part of the most awaited sporting spectacle on planet Earth. Every four years, the world is treated to the performances of the best athletes from across the globe. While India has never been a major force to reckon with, every Olympics brings with it a sense of anticipation for our country of 110 crore hopefuls. At the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008, India returned with a medal haul of 1 gold and 2 bronze. The government, at least on paper has done its bit of supporting the athletes more, this time around. While it eventually comes down to the grit and determination of individual athletes, here is a quick look at which are the disciplines to watch out for us Indians, as serious medal hopes.
1) Badminton: Saina Nehwal’s name is on the lips of every Indian who follows sports. With her recent run of consistent eye-catching performances, she is the most likely medal prospect for India. There is tremendous potential in the women’s double pairing of Jwala Gutta & Ashwini Ponappa; and the mixed doubles team of Jwala Gutta & V Diju, to bring home silverware.
2) Shooting: Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Ronjan Sodhi, Heena Sidhu… All these names have been shining across the world in different forms of shooting. While Abhinav Bindra will be defending his Gold medal that he won at Beijing 2008, Ronjan Sodhi with his tag of current World Champion carries serious medal hopes. Will someone by the name Rajvardhan Singh Rathore be missed at London 2012? Only time will tell.
3) Boxing: Indian boxers have been putting in consistent performances since the last Olympic Games. Vijender Kumar has been the shining star since his Bronze medal return from Beijing. He still is the best Indian bet for a medal this time around. While Akhil Kumar has missed out on an Olympic berth, others namely, Suronjoy Singh aka Chota Tyson, will be eager to make a mark and bring home glory on this world stage. And don’t forget the lady fighter, M C Mary Kom.
4) Archery: This discipline has come a long way in the past 4 years. Deepika Kumari, Tarundeep Rai and Jayanta Talukdar have been the torch bearers of Indian archery, and successfully so. While Deepika Kumari is the reigning World Champion, and a realistic medal hope in the individual category along with Rai & Talukdar, the men’s and women’s archery team are also an established force now. Archery might just be the surprise package at this Olympics for India.
1) Tennis: It gets a special mention here for shooting itself in the foot. While we are not going to discuss the soap opera played out by our top 3 tennis stars in public domain, one thing it has ensured is dashing two realistic medals, one in men’s doubles (Paes-Bhupathi) & one in mixed doubles (Sania-Bhupathi). The only possibility is the new pairs trying hard to prove how they were right and getting a medal to prove others wrong, not for the country though.