Stronger than ever before, the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics 2016 has hit its maiden century. With a robust team of 103 sportspersons, it is not a very long wait before we can see this large number converting into medals.
Down Memory Lane
India first participated in the Paris Olympics in 1900, with a sole athlete, Norman Pritchard. He bagged two silver medals in the 200m dash and 200m hurdles. It was only 20 years later that India made its second appearance in Olympics with its hockey team, and won it. The Indian Hockey team managed to retain its position for the next six consecutive games.
India does not have a great history at the Olympics. The Indian contingent seized a total of 6 medals (2 silver, 4 bronze) at the London Olympics in 2012, making it its best performance at the games.
What Makes The Indian Contingent At Rio Olympics Special?
This year, the Indian contingent seems to be determined to bring in their achhe din at the Rio Olympics. With the largest team in the history of India, the qualifiers have also paved way for sprinter Dutee Chand from Orissa.
Dutee Chand has a controversial history – from being ban as an athlete in 2011 on failing a gender test, to qualifying for women’s 100m sprint almost 20 years since P.T Usha did, she has certainly come a long way.
Dutee Chand’s Journey To The Olympics
The Athletics Foundation of India had conducted a series of tests on Dutee Chand in 2011, and the results had not only banned her but also had her leave a national camp. It was days later that Chand was informed that she had failed a gender test (the hyperandrogenism rule) due to a greater amount of testosterone produced in her body. Now, she would either have to forget her career in sports or undergo a surgery and long-term hormone replacement therapy to lower the levels.
In denial to do either of the two, Chand challenged the ban at the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Facing support, criticism and starting a series of scientific research and tests, it was on 25 July 2015, in a landmark ruling that the CAS overturned Chand’s ban, and suspended the hyperandrogenism rule.
It was at the XXVI International Meeting in Kazakhstan, where Chand beat the qualifying mark by clocking 11:30 seconds, made a national record and paved her way as the 99th sportsperson of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics 2016.
A Lot More In Store
This year the Indian division seems to be making history. With Leander Paes making his 7th appearance at the games, the women’s hockey team will be making its second appearance after a long wait of 36 years.
The games will also see Sania Mirza, who is currently the World No.1 in the doubles category, World No.5 archer Deepika Kumari, and former Olympic medallists Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang , Saina Nehwal, among others.
With a brilliant squad marching its way to the Rio Olympics, expectations are certainly high. Only time will tell if India will create history and break its previous records at the Olympics.
As for the rest of the world, India is coming, and it is coming strong!
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