Rio Olympics: India’s realistic medal chances
With four days to go until the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics, TOI Sports takes stock of how India realistically stands to fare at the Games.
Raninder Singh, president of the National Rifle Association of India, boldly predicted last month that India’s shooters could return home from Rio with six medals – the exact number of the country’s overall haul in 2012 (two silver and four bronze). While that appears a tall claim, there is hope that India’s largest shooting contingent to travel to the Olympics (12) achieves at least a couple of medals.
While the big two of 2008 gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and 2012 bronze medalist Gagan Narang headline India’s shooting squad, neither have enjoyed the greatest of lead-ins to Rio. Can they be discounted? Of course not, but current form does indicate a slippery slope ahead.
The man who looks best poised to emerge with a medal is 29-year-old Jitu Rai. Of the 50m and 10m pistol events, Jitu is a serious contender in the former, in which he is ranked No 2 in the world. Watch out for this man. Like Vijay Kumar in 2012, expect a silver medal.
最有希望拿到奖牌的是29岁的Jitu Rai。在50米和10米手枪比赛中，Jitu 是颇有实力的挑战者，特别是在前一个项目中，他排世界第二。有希望拿到一枚银牌。
The dark horse is 39-year-old Manavjit Singh Sandhu, who went to the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and whose impressive record underlines his potential. But as in the past three Summer Games, Sandhu – who has won at every major tournament – cannot afford to be even remotely off the mark.
From India’s women’s squad, Heena Sidhu is one of the best pistol shooters in the world. A genuine medal prospect, who holds the Finals World Record in the 10m air pistol, she is one to keep an eye on.
Realistic medal tally – 2
Archery has never been a strong medal prospect for India at the Olympics, and after the disappointment of the 2012 Games – where the men’s team lost in a close shootout to Japan and the women’s team, ranked second in the world, lost to Denmark in the first round – the sport entered a dull phase. Deepika Kumari, a former World No 1 in 2012 now sitting at 12th place, still feels the hurt and anger of 2012 and says that her inner “demons” can only he conquered by an Olympic medal.
In the individual competition, there is only one male archer, Atanu Das, who is ranked 22nd. A place in the final round looks the likeliest result for the promising archer.
Realistic medal tally – 1
Heading into her third Olympics, Saina Nehwal is, unexpectedly, India’s best bet of a medal in badminton. At least that’s what the heart says. India’s ace shuttler and former world No 1 won her second Australian Open title in June but Rio will pose sterner tests than London did four years ago. Look no further than the fact that in 2016, she has lost to Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei, Spain’s Carolina Marin and China’s Li Xuerui, the Olympics champion, in Super Series events. Saina has battled injuries this year and must be at her fittest to overcome her Chinese opponents, even if they too appear on the wane from their lofty standards of 2012.
第三次参加奥运会，塞娜内瓦尔不出所料是印度在羽毛球上拿奖牌的最好赌注。印度王牌羽球运动员、前世界排名第一的塞娜，今年6月获得第二个澳大利亚公开赛冠军，然而里约奥运会将比4年前的伦敦奥运会带来更大挑战。2016年，她先后输给了中华台北的Tai Tzu-ying、西班牙的Carolina Marin和中国的奥运冠军李雪芮。塞娜今年受了伤，必须发挥出最好状态，才能战胜中国对手。
Nevertheless, this is a champion shuttler we’re talking of. A bronze medal, at the least, could be had.
Sadly, PV Sindhu’s aura has diminished and she doesn’t look like making it as far as Saina. In the men’s arena, the 23-year-old Kidambi Srikanth is a dark horse. He must beat Mexico’s Lino Munoz and Henri Hurskainen of Sweden to get through the group stage; next up could be world No 5 Jan O Jorgensen, a very tough adversary to beat. Should Srikanth get past the Danish shuttler, chances are he will run into Lin Dan, an all-time great and very much the man for the big occasion.
在男子项目中，23岁的Kidambi Srikanth是一批黑马。要冲出小组赛，他必须打败墨西哥运动员Lino Munoz和瑞典运动员Henri Hurskainen，然后要面对的是世界5号种子Jan O Jorgensen，非常难以打败的劲敌。
alistic medal tally – 1