Five athletes who can make a difference in 2020
KOLKATA: While all eyes will be on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the way Indian athletes perform as the mother of all competitions, next year will also focus on looking at athletes who have left their mark in 2019 and will seek to continue on the same line. at the beginning of the new decade.
Here is a look at five athletes who can have an impact this year:
Shreyas Iyer (Cricket)
The much debated No. 4 conundrum for Team India in the limited overs set-up finally came to a stop as Shreyas Iyer made the position his with some stellar knocks in 2019. The Delhi Capitals captain played with maturity and looked sharp on the field as well, prompting head coach Ravi Shastri to say that their No.4 headache looks to be over. Iyer looks set to only get better in 2020 as India prepare for the T20 World Cup slated to be played in Australia in October.
Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting)
Saurabh Chaudhary showed he has the appetite for success as he scaled new heights by smashing the world record on his way to a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup, thus securing a Tokyo Olympics quota also. Saurabh also won the mixed pair event alongside Manu Bhaker, another young prodigy. He also finished No. 1 at the Munich World Cup, recorded another podium finish (bronze) in the individual event of the Rio de Janeiro World Cup, won silver at Asian Shooting Championships and another mixed event alongside Yashaswini Singh Deswal. And thus, this young shooter from Uttar Pradesh will be expected to bring more laurels to the country, both at the Olympics and other events.
Vinesh Phogat (fight)
Vinesh Phogat underlined her potential with a bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championships after she registered an emphatic 4-1 victory over Greece's Maria Prevolaraki in Russia. That made her the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. She also became the first Indian woman wrestler to make the cut through Worlds, a feat which only strengthens her stakes at the Tokyo Olympics. With Sakshi Malik struggling, Vinesh will be India's best hope for glory in Tokyo.
Amit Panghal (boxing)
Amit Panghal's consistency can only be matched by the legendary MC Mary Kom. The boxer shifted from 48kg to 51kg but that too did not dampen his spirits as the 23-year-old fetched India its first ever silver at the men's world championships. Panghal's 2019 gold rush began in the tournament, which was also his last competition in the 49kg category. Since moving to 52kg, he won gold at the Asian Championships and is a bright prospect going into Tokyo 2020.
G. Sathiyan ( Table tennis )
Table tennis does not have a bright history for India in the Olympic Games, but the sport is making great progress riding the Sathiyan necklaces in the last year or so. In 2019, the highest paddler in India reached the age of majority and assumed command of Sharath Kamal.
Sathiyan became the first Indian to enter the top 25 of the ITTF world rankings when he rose to 24 in July. He also shot down some of the top 20 players, including the world's No. 5 and the young Japanese teen sensation Harimoto Tomokazu. Sathiyan's sixth place in his first Asian Cup also helped him qualify for the World Cup, where he won the main draw after leading his group. In Tokyo 2020, it remains to be seen if they will succeed, but next year seems more than promising for Sathiyan.