The modern Olympics started in the year 1900. However, the first genuine participation from an Indian Contingent came in 1920 with 6 participants. The number of participants has steadily increased over the years. This year the contingent comprises of 66 men and 54 women, a total of 110 athletes participating in 15 disciplines. Though there hasn’t been a significant success considering the number of medals won, the presence has been has been felt in the international circuits.
2012 was the most successful year as far as the medal haul is concerned. Indian has regularly participated in archery, hockey, athletics, wrestling, shooting, rowing etc. India won the hockey olympic medal from 1928 to 1980, eight gold medals in all. The best came between 1928 to 1928 with 6 successive golds. Medals in other games has generally stayed away from India’s basket. The participation of women did not see light until 1948 when 4 women accompanied to the first time. Participation of women has been insignificant as compared to men due to the various reasons. This year, Indian contingent has the maximum 54 women participants.
The icing on the cake is that both medals have been won by women participants Sakshi Malik Bronze in wrestling; a first for any woman participant from India and a silver for P.V.Sindhu in badminton.
Sakshi Malik comes from Mokhra Village in Haryana’s Rohtak district. She is a daughter of a father working in D.T.C. and mother as an anganwadi attendant. Her grandfather, Bandhu Ram was her inspiration to take up this sport despite stiff opposition from village folk. Coached by Ishwar Dahiya, she has carved a career for her in freestyle wrestling. Sakshi had her first international medal, a bronze, at World Wrestling Championship in 2010. She then went on to win the gold at Schultz International Tournament in 2014 in 60 kg category. Since then, she has been among the medals in the tournaments that she has participated. She qualified for Rio Olympics 2016 when she defeated China’s Zhang Lan in May 2016. With her effort at Rio, she became the first woman wrestler to pick a medal at any Olympics. The Indian government and several state governments along with her employer have heaped her with the prizes.
P.V.Sindhu is another star in the Indian contingent. She’s known as an ace in the badminton arena of the World. She was born on 5th July 1995 in Hyderabad now in Telangana. She started her career as a girl player at Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011. World took notice of her when she broke into the top 20 list on 21st September 2012. Her journey is marked with ample amount of successes at the International stage. She is known face alongside Jwala Gutta and Saina Nehwal. Ahe qualified for the Olympics. She was not being considering a threat until she beat no.2 Wang Yihan. She eventually won the silver medal as she went down fighting against Carolina Mann of Spain. She became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in the sport in all Olympics. She’s currently on rank 10th in world ranking.
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