Great expectations from Bolt, Neymar, Paes…
The Rio Olympics has begun with a grand opening ceremony but is in news for all the wrong reasons. Brazil is going through a tough phase. A political turmoil, an economic crises, the spread of Zika virus, high pollution levels in the Guanabara Bay and of course, the inhabitable Olympics Village which has left all the athletes unimpressed.
Moreover, the opening ceremony was marred by a clash between protestors and the police. Protestors were angry because of the presence of acting President Michel Temer at the ceremony. Also, there were protests in Sao Paulo owing to the over-spending on the mega event at a time when the country is facing its worst recession.
But, we hope that things would soon be back on track as the games proceed. More than 200 teams from all over the world are ready to give their best to compete for 306 sets of medals in 28 sports.
As athletes gear up for the mega event, we bring you a list of the stars you would not want to miss. For some, it’s going to be a comeback and for some, it might be the last Olympics.
The fastest man on Earth has been the rock star at the games by winning 6 medals so far. With this Olympics, he might become the first to win three consecutive 100m Olympic titles. But this could be the last Olympics for the sprinter who will turn 30 as the games conclude. Usain will put his best foot forward to win the 100m. 200m and 4x100m relay.
What happens when a legend returns back to the arena after retiring from the games in 2012? Phelps has been the best success story in the pool and has won the largest number of Olympic medals ever with a total of 22, including 18 golds. The swimmer was suspended by USA Swimming and spent 45 days in rehab. This might be the last Olympic for him too and we can’t wait to see magic happening again.
Brazilian fans were left teary eyed as the country’s dream of winning the 2014 World Cup came to an end. So who can bring back joy to the nation at this Olympics? Neymar is the best bet for the Brazilian football team and all eyes would be on him to see if he can get gold for his team at home ground. The star has even skipped the Copa America to try and end the drought for his country.
The best female gymnast from America in the world championship history, this 19-year-old is going to be the toughest competition for all the gymnasts. She has 14 medals in her kitty so far, with 10 Gold medals in the world championship and another gold for the young lady at this Olympic won’t be much of a surprise.
When the Serbian genius won the French Open title, he sent the message loud and clear that his eyes would be set on the gold at the Rio Olympics. Back in 2012 in London Olympics, he lost to Andy Murray in the semifinals but this time he seems not in the same mood. The Serb won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics eight years back. So this time, could it be a gold?
And here are the Indian athletes everyone has high hopes from:
Leander Paes and Rohan Boppanna
Despite personal grudges, the two are the best possible pair for India at Rio. Leander Paes is a veteran with six consecutive Olympic Games and one bronze medal. The two are the highest ranked Indians when it comes to men’s doubles. It would be interesting to see if the two could keep their sentiments aside and bag a medal for their country.
The ace badminton player won a Bronze medal for India at the London Olympics in 2012 and her aim this time would be to continue the winning streak. She stands at rank fifth in the world right now, following her win at the Australia Open Super Series. If things go fine for the shuttler, she might be the first female individual Olympic gold medalist from India. Her toughest competitors would be Carolina Marin from Spain and Tai Tzu-ying and Li Xuerui from China.
Dutee follows in the footsteps of legendary PT Usha and has qualified for the Women’s 100m. The athlete has been in news of late due to her struggle with hyperandrogenism, which is caused as a result of high testosterone levels. She even went through a gender test conducted by the IAAF and failed. The young sprinter was not even allowed to participate in the Commonwealth and Asian Games since she was classified as a man instead of a woman. But the young talent from Odisha has fought her battle to become the second woman to qualify for the Olympics.
Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra
Narang, a three-time Olympian and winner of a bronze medal at the London Olympics would be aiming for a gold medal this time at Rio. The veteran rifle shooter is up for three events and we wish him all the best. In fact, the entire Indian shooting contingent is pretty amazing and includes Abhinav Bindra, who won a Gold medal for the country at the Beijing Olympics.
Even though artistic gymnastics is game that has long been dominated by China and Russia, Dipa Karmakar has brought India back in the game after 1964. Dipa’s signature move, the Produnova, is one of the toughest in artistic gymnastics.
The freestyle wrestler has made India proud time and again by winning gold medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games in the 65 kg category and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. The wrestler has motivated a lot of Indians and has been a source of inspiration for all after he participated in the 2006 Asian games just after his father’s death and when he overcame his knee injury to win at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
By Karan Kaushik