October 5, 2022

NEW DELHI: Their shoulders have to be feeling just a little heavier. The Indian athletes who left for Tokyo from India on Saturday (July 17) regarded barely overwhelmed. The extent of duty they’re carrying made an look throughout the send-off ceremony at Delhi airport.
Whereas Covid-19 nonetheless has its foot on the world’s throat, the rousing reception of the Indian gamers on the Delhi airport will need to have thrown a couple of punches again on the virus. And it additionally hinted on the weight of expectations.
Nevertheless it’s not the dimensions of the contingent, the most important ever of 126 athletes, that has multiplied hopes, however the vastness of it throughout the aspects of high quality, age, world rankings and present kind.
Like India’s solely particular person gold medallist, former shooter Abhinav Bindra, says, “By no means earlier than in our historical past have we gone into an Olympics beginning as absolute favorites.” It offers the nation extra causes than one to stay up for bettering on the six medals it gained at London 2012 — India’s greatest outing on the Video games so far.
However on the similar time, we should not weigh the athletes down a lot that it impacts their efficiency when it issues. However the run-up to the Video games is suffering from statements about “double-digit medal depend”. How honest is that?
“Simply give them the wings to fly and they’ll create magic moments,” says 2012 bronze medallist shooter Gagan Narang when requested to place his cash on a quantity. And former India hockey captain and ‘Olympic Gold Quest’ boss Viren Rasquinha feels “it is at all times higher to under-commit and over-deliver.”
Timesofindia.com picked the brains of a few of India’s Olympic greats on what to anticipate at Tokyo 2020.

Former India Shooter
2008 Beijing Gold Medallist
“I actually stay up for a number of athletes getting back from Tokyo with gold medals. Capturing stays our greatest hope, is our greatest hope, with so many athletes in our Olympic staff beginning as favorites, beginning as world quantity ones. By no means earlier than in our historical past have we gone into an Olympics beginning as absolute favorites.
“The world is taking a look at us now, that for the gold medals they (Indian athletes) begin as favourites. So we now have so many extra athletes than ever earlier than who’ve a practical likelihood of profitable gold medals.
“I’m not attempting to demean every other sporting self-discipline by any means, and I do know that we now have world class athletes in lots of sports activities disciplines as effectively and occasions. However after all, as a capturing athlete myself, my coronary heart will at all times be for that sport.”
Former India Hockey Participant
“Sure, will probably be (our greatest Olympics), and I’ve my causes. For the primary time, if I’m not flawed, a lot of our athletes are ranked No. 1-2-3 on the earth rankings. That provides one benefit (in getting a beneficial draw), psychologically as effectively, which places stress on the opposition.
“Plus, if you happen to see, this contingent is relatively on the youthful aspect. Earlier, normally our athletes gained medals as soon as they matured. However now these children are ordinary or used to profitable medals (internationally) at a younger age, and so they get to compete on the Olympics at a really ripe time.
“Each sport (federation) desires to be very optimistic in order that its gamers at all times come throughout encouraging statements, which is true. If I’m not going there to win a medal, then why am I going in any respect? Each participant, inside himself or herself, absolutely is aware of the place they stand. But when any individual goes overboard with medal predictions, I’m not in favour of that as a result of it unnecessarily places stress on gamers. However once more, given the state of affairs and the expertise out there, we can have our greatest Olympics.”

Former India Shooter
2012 London Olympics Bronze Medallist
“I gained’t set a quantity (to medals India might win in Tokyo) as a result of I hope the result’s higher than what I’m anticipating. Successful gold medals will enhance standings on the desk however let’s not neglect the distinction between third and the fourth is commonly in decimals. That’s true for the primary, second and third (as effectively). Simply give them the wings to fly and they’ll create magic moments.
“One of the best ways to maintain the staff motivated is to not discuss medals and expectations…They’re conscious of their tasks, having skilled very onerous. They too need outcomes…Realistically, there shall be evaluation, there shall be talks. Some shall be conscious, others gained’t be. I assume as athletes on the high stage, they study to reside with it.”
Former India Boxer
2008 Beijing Bronze Medallist
“This time we now have 9 boxers going to the Olympics, which is the most important contingent ever (on the Video games). That is why chances are high brilliant and I hope they are going to come again with medals. There may be Mary Kom, who has a variety of expertise. I hope she is going to do it once more this time.
“Woh kehte hain na ‘yeh dil maange extra’. At all times consider in good issues, huge issues. So I do not suppose that our expectations are excessive. If we count on huge numbers, then solely we obtain huge numbers. By no means suppose small, at all times suppose huge.”

Former India Hockey Captain
“I believe it is at all times higher to under-commit and over-deliver. It may be our greatest Olympics. (However) Doubt-digit medals perhaps pushing it a bit too far. It is good to be optimistic, and if you happen to ask me potential medal winners, that is positively in double digits.
“Usually, round 25 p.c conversion price on anticipated medal winners to precise winners occurs. I’d say 25 p.c is a really excessive conversion price. I believe if 20 to 25 p.c of them (potential winners) convert it into medals, that is a fairly excessive medal depend. I hope it is one of the best ever, which suggests it is greater than six medals.
“I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of creating predictions. I do not know what is going on to occur. Our job is simply to arrange athletes to one of the best of their means. In the event that they put together effectively, there are much less probabilities of screwing up when truly it issues below stress.”
Former India Shooter
Present Nationwide Coach (Pistol)
“I don’t have a intestine feeling. I’ve an knowledgeable feeling and that’s that each one our shooters within the Olympic staff are up there with one of the best on the earth…I’ve little question in my thoughts that they are going to carry out effectively within the Olympics, will give their greatest and won’t let the nation down.”

Desk Tennis Coach
Dronacharya Award winner
“Sharath and Sathiyan are the darkish horses and might beat anybody on their day. Chances are high brilliant (for Sharath-Manika in blended doubles), and there shall be solely 16 groups taking part in blended doubles. In the event that they play effectively on their day, then after profitable two matches, the probabilities to win a medal will enhance.”

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