The 2016 Olympic Games will kick-start in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August. The 28th edition of the Games will see 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees, including nations like Kosovo and South Sudan, who will make their debut. The contingents from these nations will compete for 306 sets of medals, in 28 Olympic sports.
But the thing that matters most to India is the fact that it has hit its maiden century as far as its Olympic contingent is concerned. With more than a 100 athletes qualifying for the quadrennial mega-event, India will be fielding it's largest-ever contingent. This is a marked improvement compared to the compared to 56 athletes that competed eight years ago at the 2008 Beijing Games.
India have always been underachievers at the Olympics. But in the previous two editions, India has increased their single medal tally at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2006 and Athens 2004, to three in Beijing 2008 and an unprecedented six at London 2012.
At Rio 2016, India will be aiming for a double digit medal tally, an ambition that seemed beyond the realms of reality a few years ago, but now looks achievable. With less than two months for the start of the Games, we take a look at every sportsperson who will represent India at the 2016 Olympics.
Four Indian archers have made it to the Rio Games. Atanu Das, who is currently the top-ranked Indian in the world, was selected to represent India at the Olympics by the Archery Association of India over Mangal Champia, a four-time Archery World Cup team gold winner. Among the women, fifth-ranked Deepika Kumari is India's big medal hope at the game in the individual event, apart from being a key member of the three-member team that includes Laxmirani Majhi and Bombayla Devi. The same team won a silver at the World Championship in August 2015.
With over 30 athletes across the two gender category representing India, athletics will be the largest unit for India at the Olympics
Men - Inderjeet Singh (Shot Put), Vikas Gowda (Discus Throw), Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Irfan Kolothum Thodi (Men's 20 km walk), Sandeep Kumar, Manish Singh Rawat (Men's 50 km walk), Nitender Singh Rawat, Thonakal Gopi and Kheta Ram (Marathon), Muhammad Anas (Men’s 400m race) and Ankit Sharma (Long Jump), Dharambir Singh (Men's 200m race), Jinson Johnson (800m race), Renjith Maheshwary (Men's triple jump)
Kunhu Muhammed, Muhammed Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun and Arokia Rajiv (4x400m relay)
Women - Seema Antil (Discus Throw), Manpreet Kaur (Shot put), Lalita Babar (3000m steeplechase), Tintu Luka (Women’s 800m event), Kavita Raut (Women’s marathon), Sudha Singh, OP Jaisha (Marathon), Khushbir Kaur (20km walk), Sapna Punia (20km walk), Dutee Chand (Women’s 100m race), Srabani Nanda (Women’s 200m event)
Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Luka, M R Poovamma and Anilda Thomas (4x400m relay)
Saina Nehwal - the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist - is once again India's biggest hope in the sport. Debutant PV Sindhu will be the other woman shuttler to compete at Rio. In the men's category, another debutant Kidambi Srikanth is the solitary hope. Manu Attri-Sumeet Reddy and Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa will represent India in the men's doubles and women's doubles events respectively.
Indian boxing is believed to be in its darkest times. India will only have three boxers in Rio in contrast to seven men and one woman boxer in 2012. Shiva Thapa (56 kgs Bantamweight category), Manoj Kumar (64 kgs) and Vikas Krishan (75kgs) will vie for a medal at the 2016 Olympics. Mary Kom, India's bronze-medal winning boxer from 2012 failed to qualify for the Rio Games and there will be no Indian woman boxer contesting in Brazil.
India's top golfers Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia will be representing the nation at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as the sport makes its return to the quadrennial sporting extravaganza after a gap of 112 years.
Along with the seasoned duo, young Aditi Ashok will represent the country in the women's event.
From failing to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics to going into the 2016 Games on the back of a silver medal in the Champions Trophy, the Indian men's hockey team are on the rise. A podium finish in Brazil is not unthinkable for Roelant Oltmans' seventh-ranked side led by Sardar Singh, and that shows Indian hockey has come a long way.
On the other hand, making the Olympics after a gap of 36 years has already ensured the Indian women's hockey team of a place in history. The Ritu Rani-led side aren't expected to win a medal, but it will be exciting to see how far they go.
Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics in three apparatus and all-round events. Dipa who has been in the sport for over a decade will be seen as a dark horse for a medal, especially after winning the gold in vaults finals at the test event of the 2016 Olympics in April this year.
Avatar Singh, ranked 79th in the world racked up a series of consistent performances to grab an Olympic berth in 2016. Competing in the 90 kgs weight category, Avatar will be India's only judoka in Brazil.
Dattu Bhokanal qualified in men's single sculls event after grabbing a silver medal in the FISA Asia and Oceania Olympic qualifier. Bhokanal who also has a Asian Championship silver to his name, will hope to bring glory to his country. He is India's solitary rower at the games.
With a contingent of 12, India's hopes of claiming a double-digit medal tally in Rio will largely depend on how the shooters perform. Jeetu Rai (50m Air Pistol) – a Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medalist – is one of India's best bets for a medal across all sports. Gagan Narang (10m Air rifle) – who won a bronze in 2012 – along with Abhinav Bindra (10m Air rifle) are the other shooters to keep an eye on. Other men shooters to represent India in Rio will be Gurpreet Singh (26m Rapid fire pistol), Prakash Nanjappa (50m pistol), Chain Singh (50m Rifle Positions), Mairaj Ahmed Khan (Shotgun), Manvanjit Singh Sandhu and Kynan Chenai (Trap Shooting).
Among the women, Heena Sidhu (10m Air Pistol), Ayonika Paul and Apurvi Chandela (10m Air Rifle) will carry India's hopes at the 2016 Olympics.
Sajan Prakash in men's 200m butterfly
Shivani Kataria in women's 200m freestyle
Mouma Das and Manika Batra, two Indian women table tennis players have made the cut for the Rio. In the men's category, India will have Soumyajit Ghosh and Achanta Sharath Kamal fighting for a medal in Brazil.
After an intervention from the All India Tennis Association, Leander Paes will represent India in the men's doubles category with Rohan Bopanna. Bopanna will also team up with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles category. In the women's doubles category, Sania Mirza will partner 22-year-old Prarthana Thombare.
Having earned two Olympic quotas, thanks to the performance Asian Weightlifting Championship in Uzbekistan earlier this year, India conducted selection trials in Patiala to select its two best possible candidates in the men's and the women's category.
Sivalingam Sathish Kumar (Men’s 77kg category), a 2014 Commonwealth games gold medalist and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (Women’s 48kg category), India's national record holder with a lift of 192 kgs, are believed to be India's best candidates at the Olympics.
Wrestling was subject to maximum controversies prior to the build up to the 2016 Olympics in India. The tussle for an Olympic berth between Narsingh Yadav and double Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar had to be resolved in court. Babita Kumari, who was suspended by the Wrestling Federation of India for forfeiting her bout at a qualifying event, was pardoned later and will compete at Rio.
Wrestling is another sport where India will bank on to get a medal. Here is full list of the wrestlers to represent India at the Rio Olympics.
Narsingh Yadav (74 kg weight category)
Yogeshwar Dutt (65 kg Free style category)
Hardeep Singh (96 kg Greco-Roman category)
Sandeep Tomar (57 kg category)
Ravinder Khatri (85 kg category)
Babita Kumari (53 kg category)
Vinesh Phogat (48 kg category)
Sakshi Malik (58 kg category)
Your guide to the latest seat tally, live updates, analysis and list of winners for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 542 constituencies on counting day of the general elections.
Updated Date: Jul 14, 2016 18:04:39 IST