Apart from winning the highest haul of medals, India also registered multiple records during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hard work, grit and sheer talent of Indian athletes combined with the best backing of sports officials, infrastructure, facilities and professional help under the Modi Government has brought laurels to the country. Through this article, we shall explore few of the records that India had set and the hard work that went behind this.
As #Tokyo2020 draws to a close, I would like to congratulate the Indian contingent for their stupendous performance at the games. They personified the best of skill, teamwork and dedication. Every athlete who represented India is a champion.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 8, 2021
Personal Best for India
With 124 athletes, it was the largest ever contingent from India which participated in Tokyo Olympics 2021. This is significant because qualifying for Olympics is a rigorous process in itself; delegation strength also increased by 7 from previous version.
Countries are also ranked according to the medals tally. India jumped by 19 places from 67th rank in 2016 to 48th rank in 2021. India clocked the highest ever tally of medals in its history with 1 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals.
In the men’s javelin throw, Neeraj Chopra won India’s first-ever gold medal in athletics in history fulfilling the long-cherished dream of great athletes like Milkha Singh, P.T Usha and Anju Bobby George. India’s first athletics medal was a double bonanza with gold in a javelin throw.
— P.T. USHA (@PTUshaOfficial) August 7, 2021
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won India’s first-ever silver in women’s weightlifting (49 kg), becoming the first Indian Olympic medallist in the sport since 2000.
V. Sindhu won a bronze in women’s badminton to became the first Indian female athlete and second Indian to win two consecutive Olympic medals for individual events.
The men’s national field hockey team created history by winning the bronze medal after a gap of 41 years. Women’s team also performed well progressing to semi-finals and finishing in the 4th place. Both these teams are strong and have excellent potential to finish in higher podiums in Paris 2024.
Aditi Ashok became the first Indian golfer to finish in 4th place in Olympics. It was heart breaking to see her miss the bronze medal literally by few inches. Nevertheless, it was a great performance by this 200th ranked player who was tied in 41st position in 2016 improving to become 4th rank in 2020.
Well played, Aditi Ashok! One more daughter of India makes her mark!
You have taken Indian golfing to new heights by today's historic performance. You have played with immense calm and poise. Congratulations for the impressive display of grit and skills.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 7, 2021
Full Support from Officials and Government
India’s current and former athlete superstars consistently reiterated the stark contrast and shift in support system provided to the athletes in comparison with the past.
Indian legend Anju Bobby George in an interview to Sony recounted how there was no support from the Sports Ministry during her time even after she won the world championship. She pointed out that currently, right from PM Modi downward, various functionaries of the governance have been available for athletes. She had special words of praise for Kiren Rijiju. She mentioned that the Minister was available for any help at any time. She added that the Ministry is supporting the sport talent throughout and not just after winning the medal.
Listen to Anju Bobby George on what has changed for athletes during the NDA rule and how sports minister and PM have been supporting them. pic.twitter.com/mVJq3qcFpM
— Ankur (@iAnkurSingh) August 7, 2021
Silver Medallist and star weightlifter Mirabai Chanu also shared how Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped her to reach the Tokyo Games 2020 and supported her in recovering from an injury. Chanu revealed that PM Modi “helped” with a ticket for the US flight in one day to train there and undergo rehabilitation.
Similarly Gold Medallist Neeraj was also facilitated to France before he represented India at Olympics. The ace athlete had even taken to twitter to thank the Government for facilitating the same. Since 2016, Government has also funded Neeraj to the tune of Rs 1.8 crore to enable him access the best of coaching, foreign exposure, sports gear and recovery equipment etc.
Granted visa to travel to France. I am very happy that I am getting a chance to compete in international competitions before #Tokyo2020. I'm thankful to @PMOIndia @DrSJaishankar @KirenRijiju @IndiaSports @Media_SAI @afiindia for making this happen.
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) May 30, 2021
While this and much more will be done in the future to help Indian athletes and understandably the popular discourse evolves around the medal tally, a closer look reveals the enormous strides India has made in its Olympics performance this year.