Note: The article has been updated to reflect the late entry of tennis player Sumit Nagal and female golfer Diksha Dagar.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, delayed by a year, finally gets underway in Japan on 23 July and India will have a record total of 121 athletes in their official contingent.
India’s record for their largest contingent, which was set at the Rio Olympics, has officially been improved by two. A total of 117 athletes had been a part of Rio 2016, where India returned with two medals.
India will be sending a 228-strong contingent (including the officials) to the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra had said in an interaction on Tuesday, 13 July.
Out of the 121 athletes, 68 are male and 53 are female participants. The average age of the Indian contingent is around 27 years. The oldest among the lot will be the 45-year-old Mairaj Ahmed Khan (men’s skeet shooting). There are two other athletes in their 40s in Tejaswini Sawant and Sanjeev Rajput (both 40, rifle 3-positions) with table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal following suit at 39. Rifle shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar is the youngest among the 119 at 18, while the contingent has six 19-year-olds, including pistol shooters Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker.
Looking to improve on their record of one silver and one bronze from the last edition at Rio, India’s campaign will begin on the first day (23 July) with the archery qualification rounds. Rowing is also on the schedule for opening day (Indians on 24 July) before the ceremony takes place in the evening where veteran boxer MC Mary Kom and men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh will be the flagbearers for India.
Here’s a look at the full list, broken down by the events:
India's entries for Tokyo 2020
Recently crowned world No 1, Deepika Kumari will look to end her long wait for an Olympics medal in Tokyo. She has been in great form on the World Cup circuit in 2021 and returned to the top spot following her hat-trick of gold medals at the World Cup Stage 3 in Paris. The 27-year-old from Ranchi, who had achieved the top spot for the first time in 2012, claimed gold medals in three recurve events – women’s individual, team and mixed pair in Paris. She also won the team and individual events in the first World Cup of the year in Guatemala.
The Koreans, who are undisputed champions of the event at Olympics, were missing in action at the World Cups so their presence will make things trickier for Kumari. But on her day, she can still compete with the best and she will be hoping for the luck of draw too.
Kumari will be the sole female archer in the fray as the women’s team missed out on a quota in Paris recently while the men had earned theirs earlier. The mixed team event is making its Olympics debut in Tokyo and the pair of Kumari and Atanu Das will have a chance to impress should they do well in the qualification rounds as expected.
|Men's Individual||Atanu Das||29|
|Men's Individual||Pravin Ramesh Jadhav||25|
|Men's Individual||Tarundeep Rai||37|
|Women's Individual||Deepika Kumari||27|
|Men's Team||Atanu Das||29|
|Pravin Ramesh Jadhav||25|
|Mixed team||Deepika Kumari / TBD*|
|Women's Artistic Gymnastics||Pranati Nayak||26|
All eyes will be on Neeraj Chopra who is seen as India’s brightest prospect to end the country’s long wait for a first Olympic medal in athletics. Independent India has never won a medal at the track and field events in Olympic Games with Milkha Singh and PT Usha coming heartbreakingly close in the past.
Chopra, who has been in Europe ahead of Tokyo, recently won bronze at the Kuortane Games event in Finland with a performance of 86.79m in a star-studded field comprising, among others, Olympic favourite German Johannes Vetter, who won the event with a massive throw of 93.59m.
|Men's 3000m Steeplechase||Avinash Mukund Sable||26|
|Men's 400m Hurdles||MP Jabir||25|
|Men's Long Jump||M Sreeshankar||22|
|Men's Shot Put||Tajinderpal Singh Toor||26|
|Men's Javelin Throw||Neeraj Chopra||23|
|Men's Javelin Throw||Shivpal Singh||26|
|Men's 20km Race Walk||KT Irfan||31|
|Men's 20km Race Walk||Sandeep Kumar||35|
|Men's 20km Race Walk||Rahul||25|
|Men's 50km Race Walk||Gurpreet Singh||37|
|Men's 4 x 400m Relay||Amoj Jacob||23|
|Noah Nirmal Tom||26|
|Muhammed Anas Yahiya||26|
|Women's 100m||Dutee Chand||25|
|Women's 200m||Dutee Chand||25|
|Women's Discus Throw||Kamalpreet Kaur||25|
|Women's Discus Throw||Seema Punia||37|
|Women's Javelin Throw||Annu Rani||28|
|Women's 20km Race Walk||Bhawna Jat||25|
|Women's 20km Race Walk||Priyanka||25|
|4 x 400m Relay Mixed||Alex Antony||26|
Saina Nehwal in 2012 and PV Sindhu in 2016 gave the country moments of joy in a sport where India are considered among the powerhouses. The contingent has shrunk in size from Rio with Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi, HS Prannoy, Ashwini Ponnappa among the star names to miss out. But with reigning World Champion Sindhu and world championship bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth, along with rising doubles stars Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, there are expectations of completing a hat-trick in Tokyo.
|Men's Singles||B Sai Praneeth||28|
|Women's Singles||PV Sindhu||26|
|Men's Doubles||Satwiksairaj Rankireddy||20|
Boxing resulted in medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and after drawing a blank in Rio despite big expectations, the hope from the Indian boxing contingent, which features a record nine pugilists, is still high.
For 2020, all eyes will be on MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal, who have been in fine form on the circuit.
Panghal (52kg) described his recent silver-winning performance at the Asian Championships as the best of his career so far. The 25-year-old boxer from Haryana was the defending champion before he lost to an old nemesis, Uzbekistan’s reigning world and Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the final of the event in Dubai. But that performance should augur well for a boxer considered among the best in his weight class.
Six-time boxing world champion and 2012 bronze medallist, Mary Kom returns to the Games after missing out in 2016. She is one of the two flagbearers for the contingent at the Olympics opening ceremony. The Olympics gold is one of the medals missing from her decorated cabinet and she will be looking to go the distance.
|Men's Fly (48-52kg)||Amit Panghal||25|
|Men's Light (57-63kg)||Manish Kaushik||25|
|Men's Welter (63-69kg)||Vikas Krishan Yadav||29|
|Men's Middle (69-75kg)||Ashish Kumar||27|
|Men's Super Heavy (+91kg)||Satish Kumar||32|
|Women's Fly (48-51kg)||MC Mary Kom||38|
|Women's Light (57-60kg)||Simranjit Kaur Baatth||26|
|Women's Welter (64-69kg)||Lovlina Borgohain||23|
|Women's Middle (69-75kg)||Pooja Rani||30|
Fouaad Mirza is only the third Indian equestrian after Indrajit Lamba and Imtiaz Anees to secure an individual spot in Eventing at the Olympic Games. Anees was the last to make the cut for the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a wildcard.
Mirza, who won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games ending a 36-year-old medal drought, has picked Dajara 4 as his horse over his other experienced horse Seigneur Medicott. He had ended India’s 36-year-old medal drought at the Asian Games by winning a silver at Jakarta 2018 astride Medicott, who later sustained an injury.
|Eventing Individual||Fouaad Mirza||29|
CA Bhavani Devi created history when she became the first ever Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The sabre fencer secured a spot through the World Cup in Hungary after the hosts lost in the quarterfinals of the team event, allowing South Korea to progress to the semi-final. As a result, Bhavani Devi qualified through the Adjusted Official Ranking method.
|Women's Sabre Individual||CA Bhavani Devi||27|
|Men's Individual Stroke Play||Anirban Lahiri||34|
|Men's Individual Stroke Play||Udayan Mane||30|
|Women's Individual Stroke Play||Aditi Ashok||23|
|Women's Individual Stroke Play||Diksha Dagar||20|
Well, the wait has to end sometime doesn’t it? India’s hockey history is the most glorious at the Olympic Games, with the team winning eight gold medals in the men’s event (1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1964, 1980). But the sport that is so entrenched in the country’s history has not featured in a podium finish since 1980. The men’s team will go into the Olympics hoping to end that long wait.
For the Indian women’s hockey team, qualifying for Rio Olympics in 2016 was a dream. It put an end to a 36-year wait to reach the showpiece event. But the campaign was a reality check. The team has bounced back since and it’s the first time Indian women have made it to back-to-back Olympic Games in their history.
|Men's Hockey||Surender Kumar||27|
|Vivek Sagar Prasad||21|
|Rupinder Pal Singh||30|
|Lalit Kumar Upadhyay||27|
|Women's Hockey||Sharmila Devi||19|
|Deep Grace Ekka||27|
|Women -48 kg||Shushila Devi Likmabam||26|
|Lightweight Men's Double Sculls||Jat Arjun Lal||24|
|Lightweight Men's Double Sculls||Arvind Singh||25|
India will compete in more than one sailing event in an Olympics for the first time in their history. Nethra Kumanan, the first ever Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Games, will be joined by Vishnu Saravanan in Laser STD Class. KC Ganapathy-Varun Thakkar earned their spot in the 49er class event. The quotas came from Asian Qualifier event in Oman recently. It’s the maximum number of sailors qualified and also in number of events.
There were four instances of two Indian sailors qualifying for the Olympics earlier but they took part in the same event.
|Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser||Vishnu Saravanan||22|
|Men's Skiff - 49er||KC Ganapathy||25|
|Men's Skiff - 49er||Varun Thakkar||26|
|Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial||Nethra Kumanan||23|
Arguably, India’s biggest hope for multiple medals at Tokyo 2020, the shooting squad features a mix of teenagers and veterans. The shooters were in sensational form in the Olympic cycle, with medals galore in the ISSF World Cups.
The world No 1 in her category, Elavenil Valarivan was included in a 15-member Indian shooting contingent for Tokyo while Manu Bhaker is slated to represent the country in three events.
Bhaker will be fielded in both the women’s 25m pistol alongside the experienced Rahi Sarnobat and in her pet 10m air pistol event with Yashaswini Singh Deswal. She will also partner Saurabh Chaudhary in the mixed team event, where they have had a stellar run at the World Cups. Chaudhary too starts as one of the medal favourites in both his events.
Read more about the Indian shooting squad here.
|10m Air Rifle Men||Deepak Kumar||33|
|10m Air Rifle Men||Divyansh Singh Panwar||18|
|50m Rifle 3 Positions Men||Sanjeev Rajput||40|
|50m Rifle 3 Positions Men||Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar||20|
|10m Air Pistol Men||Saurabh Chaudhary||19|
|10m Air Pistol Men||Abhishek Verma||31|
|Skeet Men||Angad Vir Singh Bajwa||25|
|Skeet Men||Mairaj Ahmad Khan||45|
|10m Air Rifle Women||Apurvi Chandela||28|
|10m Air Rifle Women||Elavenil Valarivan||21|
|50m Rifle 3 Positions Women||Anjum Moudgil||27|
|50m Rifle 3 Positions Women||Tejaswini Sawant||40|
|10m Air Pistol Women||Manu Bhaker||19|
|10m Air Pistol Women||Yashaswini Singh Deswal||24|
|25m Pistol Women||Manu Bhaker||19|
|25m Pistol Women||Rahi Sarnobat||30|
|10m Air Rifle Mixed Team*|| Divyansh Singh Panwar|
|10m Air Rifle Mixed Team*|| Deepak Kumar|
|10m Air Pistol Mixed Team*|| Saurabh Chaudhary |
|10m Air Pistol Mixed Team*|| Abhishek Verma|
Yashaswini Singh Deswal
Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash achieved Olympic Qualification Timing (OQT) ‘A’ level timings recently to create history for Indian swimming. The 27-year-old Prakash clocked 1:56:38 seconds in the men’s 200m butterfly event in Rome to become the first ever Indian swimmer to earn a direct Olympic qualification. Later, Srihari Natraj officially booked himself a Tokyo Olympics berth after the sport’s world governing body FINA approved his ‘A’ standard qualification time in the men’s 100m backstroke time trial at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome.
Maana Patel’s participation in the Tokyo Olympics was confirmed through Universality quota and will take part in the 100m backstroke at the Tokyo Games.
|Women's 100m Backstroke||Maana Patel||21|
|Men's 200m Freestyle||Sajan Prakash||27|
|Men's 100m Backstroke||Srihari Nataraj||20|
|Men's 100m Butterfly||Sajan Prakash||27|
|Men's 200m Butterfly||Sajan Prakash||27|
Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra, G Sathiyan and Sutirtha Mukherjee earned themselves singles qualification at the Tokyo Olympics from the Asian Olympic Qualification event in Doha earlier this year. The biggest quota news came from Sharath and Batra, who stunned the top seeds in the mixed doubles. While Sathiyan and Sutirtha emerged winners in their respective categories of the South Asian Group for their assured quota spots, Sharath and Batra sealed Tokyo berths by virtue of being the highest-ranked second-placed players.
|Men's Singles||Achanta Sharath Kamal||39|
|Men's Singles||Sathiyan Gnanasekaran||28|
|Women's Singles||Manika Batra||26|
|Women's Singles||Sutirtha Mukherjee||25|
|Mixed Doubles||Achanta Sharath Kamal||39|
Tennis is an event that has been the source of either success or heartbreaks at the Olympic Games since the turn of century. While Leander Paes brought joy to a nation devoid of success at the Games since Moscow 1980 with his bronze in 1996, since then there have been heartbreaks in the doubles events. Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna both came close but fell just short. This time around, there’s been disappointment even before the Games start as only one event will feature Indians.
(Update on 18 July: After withdrawals in the event, Sumit Nagal was added to India’s entries in tennis.)
|Women's Doubles||Sania Mirza||34|
|Men's singles||Sumit Nagal||23|
Former world champion Mirabai Chanu is one of India’s early medal hopes. Events have been hard to come by but Chanu bagged the bronze medal in the recently-concluded Asian Championship by lifting 86kg in snatch and a world record of 119kg in clean and jerk for a total of 205kg.
|Women's 49kg||Mirabai Chanu Saikhom||26|
Since Beijing 2008, Indian wrestlers have won Olympic medals at every edition. And once again, there will be plenty of hopes riding on the grapplers in Tokyo.
Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia and Ravi Kumar are seeded in their respective categories.
Star female wrestler Vinesh, who has clinched gold medals in all the events she has taken part in 2021, is the top seed in the 53kg category ahead of local favourite Mayu Mukaida of Japan. Both Bajrang and Deepak have been seeded second in the 65kg and 86kg category while Ravi has been seeded fourth in the 57kg.
India had earned eight quota spots but one had to be forfeited because of a positive doping test returned by Sumit Malik.
|Women's Freestyle 50kg||Seema Bisla||28|
|Women's Freestyle 53kg||Vinesh Phogat||26|
|Women's Freestyle 57kg||Anshu Malik||19|
|Women's Freestyle 62kg||Sonam Malik||19|
|Men's Freestyle 57kg||Ravi Kumar||23|
|Men's Freestyle 65kg||Bajrang Punia||27|
|Men's Freestyle 86kg||Deepak Punia||22|
(With PTI inputs)