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India at Olympics: Beyond the medals haul

5 epic performances that didn't turn to bronze, but won our hearts.

August 09, 2021 / 08:46 AM IST
From finishing 41st at the Rio Olympics 2016 to fourth place in Tokyo, Indian golfer Aditi Ashok has come a long way. (Source: Twitter/@aditigolf)

From finishing 41st at the Rio Olympics 2016 to fourth place in Tokyo, Indian golfer Aditi Ashok has come a long way. (Source: Twitter/@aditigolf)

Tokyo: India’s largest-ever contingent at the Olympic Games also returns with the country’s best-ever performance at the Summer Olympics. These have been a difficult few weeks in Tokyo, but a year-long delay, intense scrutiny of the organising committee and the IOC (International Olympic Committee), massive financial overheads and a lingering pandemic were put aside as the Tokyo 2020 Games concluded on Sunday with a glittering closing ceremony.

India bettered its London 2012 haul of six medals with its first ever gold medal on the athletics field, with Neeraj Chopra winning the men’s javelin event that saw world champion Johannes Vetter failing to qualify for the final three throws in one of the upsets of the competition.

But between the silver medal on the opening day from Mirabai Chanu and gold on the penultimate day, and among the handful other medals that came India’s way, there were also moments of anguish, agony and what-ifs. P.T. Usha and Milkha Singh spring to mind immediately as some of India’s finest to have fallen short of glory at the greatest sporting stage of them all.

Chopra (athletics/men’s javelin), Chanu (women’s weightlifting), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (men’s wrestling), Lovlina Borgohain (women’s boxing), Bajrang Punia (men’s wreslting), P.V. Sindhu (badminton women’s singles) and the Indian men’s hockey team’s performances will all be talked about for years, if not generations, to come.