We are heading closer to the Olympics with crossed fingers that the Games actually happen. Vaccinations have started rolling out in various parts of the world and some have also prioritized their sportspersons in this regard. On the other hand, many parts are facing a second wave and mutant versions of the virus. The various qualifiers are still being rescheduled due to with lockdowns and travel restrictions of varying degree in different regions. With this backdrop, the Olympic Torch relay has resumed, and the Japanese government has decided to ban foreign spectators. A collateral impact of this ban is the reduction in personal entourages of the athletes as only the accredited support staff can be part of the delegations.
Well, all this is still a bridge too far. Meanwhile a few more Indian sportspersons have qualified for the Games
Fencing: Bhavani Devi became the 1st ever Indian to qualify for Olympics Fencing. Will be participating in the Individual Sabre event.
Athletics: M Sreeshankar qualified for the Men's Long Jump event after creating a new National Record in the Federation Cup. Kamalpreet Kaur qualified for the Women's Discus Throw event with a new National Record in the Federation Cup
Table Tennis: Sathian Gnansekharan & Achanta Sharat Kamal booked spots in the Men’s Singles from the Asian qualifying event. Suthirtha Mukherjee and Manika Batra qualified for the Women’s singles category. Sharath Kamal & Manika Batra upset the Top seeds to win the sole Mixed Doubles Quota at the Asian Qualifying event.
In other news
Boxing: The Final World Qualification events have been cancelled and instead the Quotas will be allocated to the top-ranked boxer yet qualify from each continental region. India had already qualified 9 boxers (an all-time high) through last year’s Asian qualification. However, in the other 4 categories, the quotas have gone to other nations.
Athletics: New National Records for already qualified athletes Neeraj Chopra (Men's Javelin Throw) & Avinash Sable (3,000m steeplechase). Both of them nicely warming up for the Games.
Shooting: At the New Delhi World Cup, the Indian contingent returned a rich haul. Although the field was depleted but it was good to see the shooters strike a rich vein of form in the run-up to the Olympics. Special mention of the Manu Bhaker-Saurabh Chaudhary duo who have now won Gold at their 5th consecutive World Cup!
Archery: The team has been announced. Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai & Pravin Jadhav who had earned the Quota will be representing in the Men’s team and Individual Events. Deepika Kumari will be representing in the Women’s individual event. India is yet to qualify for the Women’s Team event.
Indian Contingent: Sports - 9, Events – 42, Entries - 58, Participants – 84