How the Indian contingent is getting ready for the biggest sports event

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Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju along with other officials celebrate at the launch the Official Theme Song of Indian Olympic Team of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on the occasion of ‘Olympic Day at JLN Stadium, Lodhi Road, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI)

IOA likely to declare the name of flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the showpiece event by July 5

Our Bureau
New Delhi

With the Tokyo Games round the corner, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is likely to declare the name of flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the showpiece event by July 5. “IOA is planning to declare the names on the 5th of July. We have some names which we are sorting out but as of now, majorly it is on PV Sindhu and Bajrang Punia but again it’s not official. Final names will be declared by 5th of July,” sources in the known development told ANI. Meanwhile, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and IOA continued their efforts to sensitise the Tokyo-bound athletes with a session titled ‘From India with Pride’ that helped them to understand the Japanese culture and address the possible barriers besides being ideal ambassadors of the country.

“This was a wonderful session; we are all very excited about the Olympics. We will all enjoy the Olympics and give our best,” said PV Sindhu, 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist. “The sessions on preparation for our travel and stay in Tokyo as well as anti-doping were informative and will help us.”

Table Tennis player Sutirtha Mukherjee who is making her Olympics debut, was very happy with her learnings from the three-session, “These have been very interesting. I learnt a lot about Japan and about the expectations once I arrive there, I am really excited as this is going to be my first Olympics,” she said.

Ace athlete of the Indian Navy, MP Jabir, has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 400m hurdles after he clocked 49.78s to win gold at the recently concluded Inter-State Athletiss Shamrionshirs in Ratiala. Jabir qualified through the World ranking quota where there are 14 spots available. The 25-year-old Naval sailor hails from Malappuram, Kerala. He is currently ranked 34th in the World Athletics’ Road to Olympics rankings where 40 athletes qualify. “When he competes in the Tokyo Olympics, Jabir would be the first Indian male athlete to participate in the 400m hurdles in Olympics,” read an official statement.

PT Usha, the legendary athlete from Kerala competed in the 400 m hurdles at the Los Angeles Olympics. That makes Jabir, the second from the state to compete in the same event in Olympics. Jabir has participated in many national and international athletic championships representing the Indian Navy and the Services earning many laurels. The athlete is in the final stages of preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. The Inter-State Meet was the last Olympic qualification event for the Tokyo Games.

India equestrian Fouaad Mirza on Thursday said he is entering the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in good shape and form, and he is confident of achieving a special feat at the Games.

Mirza had earlier won a silver medal at both the individual eventing and team eventing at the 2018 Asian Games. “With the Covid-19 pandemic around, yes my training was affected, but that was last year and towards the beginning of this year. The training was not affected as much as compared to the competitions and preparation competitions for qualification for Olympics, those were affected. Shows could not be organised due to lockdown restrictions and so competitions were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mirza while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference organised by Embassy Group.

“I think we are heading into the Olympics in good shape and form, the horses have been placed in the last two competitions that we have done which are in the Olympic level, that shows that they are in good form and we are looking to do something good at the Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

Mirza had won a quota for the Tokyo Olympics in 2019 itself, but the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of events globally meant that he could only complete the Minimum Eligibility Requirements for the Olympics in May this year. He managed to do that at Baborowko in Poland, finishing second on Seigneur Medicott and third with Dajara 4.

With less than 30 days to go for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Olympic fever is engulfing the entire sporting world. While the Indian athletes carry out their high-octane practice sessions, the hockey fans are reliving the memories from the triumphant Olympic campaigns in the past.

The fiery centre-forward BP Govinda went on a nostalgic trip, fondly talking of his hay days as an iconic figure with a distinctive headband. “Our coach KD Singh Babu made me play as outside-left in the Bronze Medal match against the Netherlands,” recalled the stylish striker in the fifth article of Hockey India’s Flashback Series “All through the tournament in Munich, I had played as centre-forward, but our coach insisted I change my position for this match, and it so happened that I scored the equaliser and then Mukhbain Singh scored the winning goal through a penalty corner which helped us win the match 2-1,” he added.

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