A number of people, who are not so popular amongst the masses of India, hold out hope for the country at Rio Olympics. All of them have qualified at the test event, and are training for the games, which will begin on August 5.
Dipa Karmakar, a gymnast, has been practicing at the Indira Gandhi International Sports Complex. She is the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. “There is a physio and masseur; and there are facilities for recovery after a hard workout. We also have good equipment,” she said. Avtar Singh and Yashpal Solanki have been training at the Cycling Velodrome. Avtar Singh is India’s lone entry in judo at the games. He will compete in the 90kg category. Of the judokas in 90kg, Avtar has the best reach, measuring more than six feet. “He also has heaps of endurance and a strong grip,” said Solanki, a former international.
Dattu Baban Bhokanal will be the face of the national rowing team. Last year, he won silver at the continental level, which was his first international medal. He has kept alive the tradition of rowers competing at the Olympics since the 2000 Games. For the first time, a four-member table tennis team will be participating in the Games. The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) Secretary, Dr Choudhary says, “Things are getting better as both the men’s and women’s team have qualified. We are not aiming for the sky, the target is to get better.”
After a gap of 112 years, golf will make a return at the Olympics. India will be represented by Anirban Lahiri an SSP Chawrasia. Teenager Aditi Ashok, who qualified the Women’s British Open, is also a hope. After top swimmers failed to qualify, the international body gave wildcards to Sajan Prakash, who will compete in men’s 200m butterfly, and Shivani Kataria, who will take part in women’s 200m freestyle.