India may have had their most successful campaign in their Olympic Games history but one can’t help but think what may have been if some of the athletes who were mighty close to the medal hadn’t missed out. We are talking about athletes like Mary Kom, Aditi Ashok and a few others who came close to bag the elusive medal but just missed out.
In this piece, we are looking at the unsung Indian heroes from Olympics 2020 who may have missed out on the glory but their hard work and resilience didn’t go unnoticed.
MARY KOM (BOXING)
Whatever we could write about Mary Kom wouldn’t do justice to the incredible life she has lived so far. Mary Kom may be 38 but continues to be an inspiration for all the athletes in the country. She was clearly unhappy with the way the campaign ended for her at Olympics 2020 but was as inspiring as ever in this edition of the Games.
WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM
It felt like a premiere of the Bollywood blockbuster, ‘Chak De India’ when Rani Rampal’s Team India defied odds and reached their first-ever semi-final at the Olympic Games. India were ranked ninth coming into the competition but their ranking never held them back. The team consistently put up performances that made the world take notice and their win against the favourites Australia in the quarter-finals would go down in the history books of Women’s sports in India. They, unfortunately, fell just short of the bronze medal as Great Britain pipped them 4-3 in the match. But the team punched way above their weight consistently and this should be the stepping stone to something extraordinary.
KAMALPREET KAUR (DISCUS THROW)
Kamalpreet Kaur scripted history at Olympics 2020 as she now holds the record of the best-ever throw by an Indian woman in the discus throw final. It was a step in the right direction as this was her maiden Olympic campaign and would put her in good stead going into the 2024 edition. She finished sixth in the final and the country has taken note of this stellar performance at the highest level.
DEEPAK PUNIA (WRESTLING)
Deepak Punia looked class apart going into the 86kg semi-final as he had virtually reached that stage unchallenged. The 22-year-old was also in his first Olympic campaign but looked like he belonged at that stage. He lost the semi-final to the eventual champion from the United States of America. He had a shot at the bronze medal and it was looking like he would clinch it but in the last ten seconds of the bout his opponent turned it around and Deepak had no time to put a comeback together. Deepak looks like a wonderful prospect for the future and his name would be heard in the coming few years as well.
ADITI ASHOK (GOLF)
Nobody expected India to be competitive in the golf event at Olympics 2020 and out of nowhere a pleasant surprise in the name of Aditi Ashok made the country dream. The 23-year-old Indian golfer was ranked 200th in the world going into this competition. She was on her way to force a bronze medal playoff but fell agonisingly close as she finished fourth. She won all the hearts with her incredible performance in an event where there were no expectations.
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