India at Tokyo Olympics: Can India win more than a medal on opening day?

With the Tokyo Olympics only two days adrift, we take a look at India's medal chances on the opening day of the sporting extravaganza.

Saurabh Chaudhary and Mirabai Chanu
Saurabh Chaudhary and Mirabai Chanu

Athletes from all across the world have started arriving in the host city for the much anticipated Tokyo Olympics. The quadrennial event is scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021. The Olympics which were supposed to take place in 2020 but had to be postponed to this year in light of the global pandemic of COVID-19.

The Summer Games is around the corner and the organisers have overcome great hurdles to bring the sporting extravaganza to its admirers. India has sent a record 127 athletes to the Summer Games with many ranked in the top 10 of their respective sports. This is India’s best-ever chance at scripting history on the grand stage.

With only 2 days to go for the Tokyo Olympics, the first of its kind following the deadly pandemic, let’s take a look at India’s medal chances on day one of the Games as they aim for a historic medal bounty at the first Olympics of the decade.

Medal events for India on Tokyo Olympics Day 1

  • Judo (women’s 48kg class)
  • Shooting (10m Air Pistol Men)
  • Shooting (10m Air Rifle Women)
  • Weightlifting (49kg category)

India’s medal hopes on Tokyo Olympics Day 1

Saurabh Chaudhary

Medal Prospects for India at Tokyo Olympics - Saurabh Chaudhary
Saurabh Chaudhary

Among the 15 Indian shooters traveling to the Summer Games, 19-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary is India’s best bet at an individual medal. Despite being lower ranked than teammate Abhishek Verma, Saurabh has been the more consistent of the two in the 10m air pistol event. He has finished on the podium in all but one competition he’s taken part in.

Saurabh has featured in four World Cups since 2019, winning 2 golds, a silver and two bronzes. Since competing for the first time as a senior in 2018, he’s made the final of every tournament he’s qualified in. Currently ranked world number 2 in the Tokyo 2020 Rankings as well as 2021 World Rankings, the teen shooting sensation, who will be looking to make a mark on the big stage, is a strong contender for the gold medal.

Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu
Mirabai Chanu

The first day of the Tokyo Olympics will see Indian women weightlifter Mirabai Chanu in action. She is the lone Indian to qualify for the event and will be in action on the very first day of the Games. The weightlifter has shown time and again that she is a force to be reckoned with, with her wins in the arena namely the 2017 Anaheim World Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Her bronze medal along with a world record in the clean and jerk lift in the 2020 Tashkent Asian Championships assured her qualification for the Olympics this year. With North Korea’s withdrawal from the Olympics, she has been ranked at World No.2 in the 49kg category with 4133,6172 points and stands a good chance to win a gold medal this year giving India the perfect start.

Also Read | Here is the complete list of Indian Athletes qualified for the Tokyo Olympics

Elavenil Valarivan

Elavenil Valarivan
Elavenil Valarivan

The 10m air rifle event for women will see Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan in action on the very first day. Elavenil is India’s brightest hope in the event and all eyes will be on her in the medal event. The Tamil Nadu-born shooter first burst onto the scene by winning the 2018 Sydney ISSF Junior World Cup gold with a world record qualification score of 631.4.

As time passed, she continued to improve as she set her foot in the senior team. Elavenil is the top-ranked shooter in the event and all eyes will be on her performance on the opening day. Valarivan, who claimed back-to-back gold medals in the ISSF World Cup 2019, first in Brazil and then in China, will be banking on her impeccable consistency to get off with a perfect start at the event.

Also read: India at Tokyo Olympics: Meet the Indian Boxing Contingent