TOKYO OLYMPICS 2021: Hopes of medals amid fear of pandemic


A man poses a victory sign during the solidarity run organized by Arunachal Pradesh to support the Team India representing in Tokyo Olympics 2021, in Itanagar on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23-August 8 this year. The event was supposed to go ahead last year but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Our Bureau
New Delhi

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday confirmed that the Olympic-bound contingent would leave for Tokyo on July 17.

The IOA had sent in a request to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (TOCOG) to seek further clarifications regarding their arrival in Tokyo. The Japanese government has put in new regulations which will not allow the Indian athletes to physically interact with anyone from another team, delegation or country for three days on arrival. “Since we have not received the necessary approvals from TOCOG hence we are now coordinating for the departure of the Indian contingent to now depart from India on 17 July 2021 and arrive in Tokyo on 18 July 2021. We are extremely disappointed that our request has not been approved, however, given the medical protocols imposed on India for the 7 days prior to departure we have no other option now, but then to depart on 17 July 2021 and arrive in Tokyo on 18 July 2021,” the IOA wrote to TOCOG on Thursday.

In the letter, the IOA also put down various questions like can a coach attending with a different delegation get access to support the Indian athlete?

“However, with reference to our earlier discussions regarding the departure of athletes after their competition finishes and that flights to India are limited and, in some case, the athletes/support staff may not be able to departure the village within 48 hours of the conclusion of the competition. In these specific cases will we also be required to submit a “Period of Stay Exemption Request Form” with the request to allow the athletes/support staff to remain in the village until flights are available,” asks the IOA in its letter.

Earlier, ANI had reported that the Indian Olympic-bound contingent would leave for Tokyo on July 17.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23-August 8 this year. The event was supposed to go ahead last year but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indian woman swimmer Maana Patel practices after she qualifies for Tokyo Olympics, at Olympic class swimming pool, in Ahmedabad on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

Sindhu gets and easy draw

Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu on Thursday was given a comparatively easier path in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, beginning July 23. Sindhu has been selected in Group J of women’s singles and she has been seeded sixth. The 2019 World Champion Sindhu will lock horns against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi and Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova on the league stage.

When it comes to the men’s category, Sai Praneeth has also been given a respite as he has been seeded 13th in Group D. Praneeth will clash against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands and Israel’s Misha Zilberman in the league stage.

Men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have been placed in Group A.

The duo will have to square off against the top seed Indonesian pair of Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, Chinese Taipei’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin and England’s duo of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy.

In the singles competition, the top player from each group will qualify for the knock-out stages.

Sai Praneeth is confident

Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth, India’s sole men’s singles representative in Badminton at Tokyo 2020, is confident ahead of his Olympic debut as the 28-year-old shuttler believes he holds an advantage going into the showpiece event.

Praneeth has maintained his World No. 15 rankings to qualify for his first-ever Olympics. No men’s singles player from India has ever progressed further than the quarter-final at the Olympics but the Arjuna Awardee has set his sights on ending that drought soon as he hopes to return home with a medal. “Nobody knows how people are playing and how everybody is practicing or in which area they are improving. It is something which is [the same for] everybody. It’s a new way of playing tournaments, more so an Olympics and top players will definitely be under pressure. So I hope it will be a good thing for me,” Praneeth said in a video posted by

“I think for them it is not easy because they don’t know how they are playing. When you see [a player] in practice everything seems fine. Only when you play tournament will you know how good you are playing or how bad you are playing. I think definitely, it will have an impact and I feel this could be an advantage for me,” he pointed.

Praneeth feels he is in good shape by playing in 4 tournaments this year. However, cancelled tournaments saw former World No 1 Srikanth Kidambi missing the Olympic Qualification cut but he is now helping Praneeth to prepare for his Olympic debut.

“So, there are few players who are practicing with me and Srikanth is also there, he is sometimes playing with me. Practice is going good and I am focusing on my fitness. I think game-wise everybody will play well and for me as long as I am fit, I think I can play my game.”

“You know you are capable of winning a medal and so yes you have to train for the medal. And not just got to participate. So definitely winning a medal is the main target. If you are really capable of getting something, and if it is not happening, I think you have to try a hundred per cent till the end. That is what I believe,” Sai added.

The 2019 World Championship medallist understands what he needs to do to perform well at the upcoming Olympics.

Revathi Veeramanani, an athlete, working as Commercial Clerk-cum-Ticket Collector in Madurai Division, selected to represent India in 4x400m mixed relay at Tokyo Olympics 2021, in Madhuri on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

Lalremsiami hopeful of a medal

Having made the cut to the 16-member Indian women’s hockey squad for the Tokyo Olympics, young striker Lalremsiami is hopeful of winning a medal in Japan.

She said the team has worked hard and made many sacrifices for the Olympics due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. “We won’t waste the hard work and sacrifices we all have made at the camp (SAI Bengaluru). We will give our best in Tokyo. We have been getting wonderful support from the fans, and I hope we make them proud by winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics,” said Lalremsiami, who is one of the eight debutants named in the squad for Tokyo Games 2020.

The 21-year-old striker, who hails from Kolasib, Mizoram, created history when she became the first female player from the state to make it for the Olympics.

While speaking about her hockey journey, the young striker said, “I was introduced to hockey in a playground near my house, and as soon as my school hockey coach saw me playing, he selected me for the school team. When I was 10, I played my first inter-school tournament, and won the Best Hockey Player award, along with a Rs 500 cash prize. So, that’s how my love affair with this beautiful game started.

“I spent five years of my life training in Thenzawl before I moved to Delhi in 2016. When I was leaving my home, I told my dad that I will represent India one day, and here I am today! I did face a lot of challenges during my early days. The only source of income for my family was farming, but it was my dad who supported me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams,” she added.

Before breaking into the senior team, Lalremsiami represented the India U-18 side at the Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualifier held in Bangkok, where she scored as many as seven goals to help the team bag the Silver medal.

Sonam Malik becomes the youngest Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics, in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Golfer Udayan Mane makes the cut

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday congratulated golfer Udayan Mane for qualifying for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

“I congratulate Udayan Mane on qualifying for #Tokyo2020 after updated Olympic rankings were released today. We now have 3 golfers representing India at #Tokyo2020. I wish them the best. #Cheer4India,” tweeted Rijiju. Earlier, Aditi Ashok and Anirban Lahiri were the two Indian golfers who had attained qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Aditi is the first female Indian golfer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Golfer Aditi had scripted history after the final Olympic rankings were released last week. She qualified in 45th place and will now play in her second Olympics.

Ace Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri qualified for his second successive Olympics as he finished as the best-placed Indian golfer in the final Tokyo Games Rankings.

Sharing the development on Twitter, Lahiri stated that this is the best surprise he has got in a while.

The 33-year-old bagged the last available quota in the Games rankings at the 60th spot, headed by the World No 1 and recently-crowned US Open champion Jon Rahm (Spain).

Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 and the Games will run up to August 8 this year. The event was slated to be held last year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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