New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): When the Tokyo Olympics were delayed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fans still saw one shining light, that the situation would return to normal and the mega event will be held with the same charm and fireworks.
However one year later, the situation has not changed much, and Tokyo — the venue for the Games is bearing a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections. But as they say, the show must go on and it is indeed going on, as the Olympics is set to kick off on Friday.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has already termed the event as "Games of Hope" and even though, a major part of the population in Japan is against holding the Olympics, the IOC is hoping to win over the people by providing a sporting spectacle.
The Games-related Covid-19 infections stand at 87 so far, and few athletes have also tested positive for the virus at the Games Village. And this is the major reason that the Opening Ceremony for the Games would see a minimal outing. Spectators would not be allowed for the Games and at medal ceremonies, one will see the participants wearing masks at all times.
Talking about India, the country has sent its highest number of athletes to the Games — 127 — and it is fair to say that the contingent is expected to win medals in double digits this time around.
Ever since its inception, India has managed to win just 28 medals at the showpiece event, and if the country indeed manages to win medals in double digits in a single edition, then it would be a big reason to celebrate.
The Indian contingent comprises a perfect mixture of youth and experienced guard. The shooting team comprising of 15 members is expected to do the major damage and it is interesting to see how the youngsters in the line-up perform under high pressure.
The boxing team comprising of Mary Kom and Amit Panghal is also expected to shine bright in the Games and if there is one sport apart from shooting, one can expect medals in, it has to be boxing. Talking about wrestling, tennis, table tennis, golf, and swimming, every sport has an Indian entrant and for the first time, the country has sent participants in most of the sports.
Hockey which used to be India's acing ground in the Olympics, has seen a dry spell in terms of medals since 1980 and for the first time in the last 20 years, the Indian side enters the Games with real promise.
Both Manpreet Singh and Rani Rampal have led their team nicely over the course of the last two years, and it would be nice to see them transitioning it into a medal at the Games.
Shuttler PV Sindhu has been handed a comparatively easier draw at the Games and the 2019 World Champion has increased the hopes of a nation having a 1.3 billion population. Sai Praneeth and the doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have also emerged as the darkhorse in the badminton event.
The Games might have been delayed by one year, but as the show goes on, one just hopes that the event would be a landmark for the Indian sport. Back home, from Cabinet Ministers to Bollywood stars to cricket superstars, everyone has rallied behind the Olympic-bound contingent and it is now up to the athletes to give some respite to a nation that has been bogged down by the pandemic for the last two years. (ANI)
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