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Tokyo Olympics 2020: The Seven stars of India

Tokyo Olympics 2020: The Seven stars of India

India has appeared in every edition of the Summer Olympics since 1920. The nation sent its largest-ever contingent of 126 competitors in 18 sports to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Games.

The 2020 Summer Olympics were one of the most successful one for India since its regular Olympics appearance in 1920, with Indian Olympians winning 7 medals (1 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze).

India finished 48th on the medal tally in Tokyo, its highest ranking in over four decades. However, if the ranking were based on total number of medals, India would have actually finished 33rd. But ranking is done primarily based on the number of gold medals won. The previous best was its 51st rank finish at Beijing in 2008.

Here are the men and women who made India proud and gave the nation something to cheer about particularly during this pandemic time.

Mirabai Chanu - Weightlifting

The pint-sized weightlifter from Manipur lifted the spirits of the entire nation as she ended a 21-year wait for a medal in weightlifting, clinching a silver medal in the 49kg category to open India's account on the very first day of competition.

Vijay Kumar Dahiya – Wrestling

Dahiya is a product of the national capital's Chhatrasal Stadium which has already given two Olympic medallists for India – Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.

Although, he fetched a silver, his immense strength and stamina along with technical prowess impressed one and all. A fiercely determined athlete, he could work upon cracking the alchemy of turning his silver into gold in 2024.

PV Sindhu – Badminton

P.V. Sindhu, one of the strongest medal contenders delivered once again. This time snatching a bronze.

P.V. Sindhu cemented her place among India’s greatest ever athletes by winning her second Olympic medal. She became the first Indian woman and second overall from the country to achieve the feat.

The badminton boom in India is set to continue.

Men's Hockey Team – Bronze

Four decades of pain and disappointment was washed away, as way as the Indian men's hockey team clinched the bronze, the country's 12th Olympic medal in the sport that came after a gap of 41 years.

It wasn't gold but it was enough to spearhead the revival of the sport in a country that attaches so much sentimental value to it.

Lovlina Borgohain – Bronze

Competing in her maiden Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain carved a niche for herself in the history of Indian women's boxing by sealing a bronze medal.

A day before she was to leave with the Olympic-bound boxers’ group for a training camp to Europe, Borgohain had contracted COVID-19. But the missed opportunity couldn't stop her from having a remarkable campaign. With the feat, she became only the third Indian boxer ever, after Vijender Singh and MC Mary Kom, to finish on the podium at the quadrennial showpiece.

Bajrang Punia – Wrestling

Bajrang – A passionate wrestler since childhood.

He was carrying a knee injury, and the opponents knew it. They attacked his legs. But in the battle for third spot, the 27-year-old from Haryana produced a stellar medal-winning performance against his opponent. The score line tells how he had scripted his story against hard physical odds.

Neeraj Chopra - Javelin Thrower

With a mighty heave, Neeraj Chopra made history. His 87.58m throw in the men’s javelin event gave independent India her first Olympic medal in track and field.

Neeraj Chopra became only the second Indian to win gold as an individual in the Olympics.

This 23-year-old from Haryana relished and revelled the moment.

Following his golden throw, millions of Indians grew emotional on hearing the national anthem at the Olympics for the first time since Beijing 2008.

Neeraj Chopra, who overcame number of injuries to give Indian athletics its greatest moment on the world's biggest sporting stage.

Many hope this success will usher in a new era of Indian sport

There was a serious intent at the government level to put more money into sports. Also, reviving a new sense of sporting spirit that would elevate India globally, even midst those who pursue sports as an optional or additional career.

Further, India’s success in Olympics has emphasised the importance of improving the sporting ecosystem and the need to ensure inclusivity.

The government has stepped up efforts to elevate the country's sporting profile on the international stage. Four years later in London, the country took home six medals its second most successful Olympic 2012 medal tally.

In 2016, the nation's unsatisfactory performance at the Rio Olympics with one silver and one bronze medal it prompted authorities to further boost funding.

Two years later, the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a nationwide program called 'Khelo India' or 'Let's Play India' to recuperate the sports culture in India with the aim of identifying and funding the promising young talent.

Olympic performance 2020 has ushered a new era in Indian sport where its athletes will gain a platform to excel and grow.