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Can India build on Neeraj Chopra’s 2021 Olympic gold victories in 2022?

It’s amazing what a gold medal in the Olympics can do. It can magically boost the morale of the nation. It can effortlessly instill greater self-confidence in a nation’s athletes. It can generate a thousand and more dreams. This can raise expectations, some of which may be more difficult than usual. Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal in javelin throw at Tokyo 2020 did all that and more.

His sheer passion for his sport can be seen in the way he preferred to settle outside of India, away from distractions, to begin his off-season training. He is aiming for a medal at the World Championships to complete his golden streak at the Asian and Commonwealth Games in 2018 and the Olympics last year.

There is more that Indian sports fans can focus on in the coming months, especially during the Asian Games. India won 20 medals, including eight gold and nine silver in Jakarta in 2018. But expecting more than that, India will make a significant effort to win multiple medals in athletics at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

It is always a risky business, predicting success in sports because it is fraught with immense risks. But then what is the sport if you don’t pull your neck and identify the talents who have the potential to rise to the podium in 2022 with a schedule that includes the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Asian Games. ? Games in Hangzhou.

The men’s 4x400m relay team did not reach the final of the Olympics, but broke the Asian record and established themselves as the team to beat in Hangzhou. But before that, Muhammed Anas, Arokia Rajiv, Amoj Jacob and Noah Nirmal Tom will have to redeem themselves at the World Championship.

India men’s 4x400m relay team. (PhotoTwitter)

Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur will be one of the athletes who will be followed with more than superficial interest. She secured that with two of Asia’s top five throws last year, including a national record of 66.59m and a 64.00m effort to finish seventh at the Olympics.

At one end of the experience spectrum is long jumper Shaili Singh. The teenager jumped 6.48m to win silver at the U-20 World Championship in Nairobi last year and her coach Bobby George believes she will soon reach distances of around 6.70m. Shaili is already in the top six in Asia and could win a medal at the Asian Games if he exceeds 6.60m.

A time of 52.77 seconds at the U-20 World Championship placed Priya H Mohan in the top six in the women’s 400 meters in Asia. If she makes it to the U-52 category, perhaps she can be seen as a medal prospect in the individual event as she plays a role in the revival of the women’s 4x400m relay team.

Hima Das, who won the individual silver medal in the 400 meters and played a role in the gold relay in Jakarta, has not competed in a quarter-mile race for some time. The Dhing Express, ranked fourth in Asia last year in the 200 meters, is expected to compete for a medal at the Asian Games.

Although not part of the national camp, the medium-distance runner Harmilan Kaur Bains has conquered more than one with her efforts over 800m and 1500m. Her runner-up finish at the Warangal National Open was the second-fastest time by an Asian woman on the metric mile and suggests that if she stays injury-free, it may be a medal prospect.

Can India build on Neeraj Chopra’s 2021 Olympic gold victories in 2022?
Harmilan Bains won the 1,500m title at the National Open Athletics Championships. (ISC media photo)

Training away from the general public, American high jumper Tejaswin Shankar will have to recalibrate his goals to peak at the Asian Games. With a record of 2.28m last year, he is a stone’s throw from a medal at the Asian Games, but the moot question is whether his collegiate commitment will allow him to make Hangzhou an important goal for the year.

Three Indian triple jumpers were in the men’s top 10 in Asia last year and if any of the three – Praveen Chithravel, Abdulla Aboobacker and Kartik Unnikrishnan – can find the 17m bar, it may surprise a lot of people. However, they will have to shed the inconsistencies that have marked their careers thus far.

Now let’s look at some names that are more familiar. Steeplechase Avinash Sable, who has taken his hobby to rewriting the national record at the Asian Games, will have to take the lead over the Japanese, but there are those who believe the Beed District athlete is in it to shave off a piece of his personal best time.

Shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, long jumper M Sreeshankar and javelin thrower Annu Rani will have to leave their respective setbacks behind at the Olympics and show off this year. Your resilience will be put to the test at the Commonwealth Games and / or the Asian Games.

How Tajinderpal Singh Toor handled his rehabilitation after surgery will determine whether the burly athlete can improve to be among the best in the world. His willingness to use sports science and better coaching contributions will be critical to his evolution from the best in Asia to a global challenger.

Despite the second best long jump recorded by an Asian last year, Sreeshankar will need to achieve her number for a medal at the Asian Games. And that could possibly mean working with a new coach at the national camp. It will be interesting to see how you plan your career and become more consistent.

Like Tajinderpal Singh Toor and Sreeshankar, Annu Rani disappointed at the Olympics. How you adjust to a new coach this season will be just as important as your ability to bounce back from a bad show in Tokyo that contrasted with your constant efforts after the Asian Games in Jakarta.

It is undeniable that sport will always have the scepter of doping flying over the landscape. Let’s hope India doesn’t have to face the ignominy of facing a critical year as it struggles to capitalize on Neeraj Chopra’s Olympic Games gold victories.

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