Which sports will Team India compete in on Day 1 of the Rio Olympics?
India will be in a slew of events on Saturday. Indian athletes will be competing in six sports and a total of nine events. Air rifle shooting, rowing, hockey, tennis, table tennis and weightlifting are all disciplines which will be played on Saturday.
How many members do these sporting contingents have?
Shooting will be represented by Ayonika Paul, Apurvi Chandela and Jitu Rai. Dattu Bhokanal will be the sole Indian representative at the rowing event. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu will begin her Rio journey in weightlifting. Table tennis has a full house of two men and two women paddlers playing for India, the maximum a country can send to the Olympics.
Mouma Das, Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal Achanta and Soumyajit Ghosh are the four paddlers who will be in action. The hockey contingent will also try to repeat their illustrious history by starting their Olympic campaign. In tennis, the talented duo of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna as well as Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare will compete in Round 1.
What are the Indian team's medal prospects?
Among the participants are quite a few medal "hopefulls" competing on Saturday. If things are as competititve as they are expected to be, we can expect some good developments. Here are the events that the respective athletes will participate in:
Men’s Indian Hockey Team: First-round match against Ireland
Dattu Bhokanal: Men's single sculls
Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna: Men's first-round doubles match against Poland’s Marcin Matkowski and Lukasz Kubot.
Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare: Women's first-round doubles match against China's Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu: 48 kg women's weightlifting
What time will these events happen?
Shooting: The women's 10m air rifle will start at 5.00 pm IST on Saturday. The men’s 10m air pistol qualification stage will start at 9:30 PM IST.
Rowing: The men's single sculls event will start at 5.00 pm IST on Saturday.
Hockey: The men’s hockey Group B preliminaries will begin at 7.30 pm IST on Saturday.
Tennis: Men’s doubles will kick start at 7.30 pm IST as well. You may have to burn some midnight oil to watch the women’s double match at 1:30 AM IST.
Table Tennis: Round 1 of the women's singles matches will begin at 7.45 pm IST on Saturday. The men's singles competition will start at 12:30 am on Sunday.
Weightlifting: Finally, the 48 kg women’s Weightlifting tournaments will happen at 3:30 am on Sunday.
What are the medal prospects of our squad?
The shooting contingent carries high hopes. Jitu Rai, 29, is probably one of the most important candidates for an Indian Olympic medal, perhaps even a gold. Apurvi's rise since the past eight years in the shooting fraternity also makes her really a good competitor. The whole shooting squad is brimming with promise.
With Hockey, Sreejesh is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and captains a skillful team that has a strong defensive unit of Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh and Surender Kumar. Despite the adversities that the team has been facing, there are strong expectations that the team will live up to India’s hockey legacy.
Ranked 15, the formidable duo of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna should be too good for the Polish duo in the first match. Though the duo has had differences aired out in an all too public spat, a medal may not be a far-fetched idea. If their 2014 Asian Games is any indication, Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare may also fare well in Rio.
The national record-breaking Saikhom is young but a fierce weightlifter. Her track record indicates that she can carry the weight of expectations and be a worry successor to Karnam Malleswari. The lone Indian entrant at the Rio waters, Dattu Bhokanal may also spring a surprise for Team India.
India will be sending a full, four-member table tennis team to Rio, for the first in the Olympic history! The contrast between veteran paddler Mouma Das and newbie Manika Batra is exactly what the table tennis squad needs. In what could be Mouma’s swansong Olympics, a medal would fulfill her tally of accomplishments.
How do I show my support for Team India?
Show your love for India using the #IND hastag. #Rio2016 will be the major hashtag for the Olympics on Twitter as well, so cheer for our contingent using these hastags. The Twitter accounts @Olympics, @Rio2016 and @Rio2016_en will also give you regular updates on the quadrennial event. The hashtags #Weightlifting, #Shooting, #Rowing, #Tennis, #TableTennis and #Hockey will also give special mini icons on the Twitter network.
Google has added some new features in its Search app to bring the latest updates from Rio Olympics 2016 to you. Find your favourite athletes on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as well. Keep the cheers for Team India loud and support our country in its medal rush!