From Neeraj Chopra to PV Sindhu - How are India's Olympic medallists gearing up post Tokyo success?

While most of them have resumed training, a couple of them have already started participating in international competitions

By Soham Mukherjee
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

India had sent its largest ever contingent ever of 127 athletes to the Olympics in Tokyo. There were expectations that the country could make history and reach double-digits in the medal tally. Although that was not the case, India registered its best-ever performance in the Olympics with one gold, two silver, and four bronze medals.

It was Neeraj Chopra who stole the limelight by winning the country's first-ever gold in track and field events. The Indian men's hockey team also captured the country's imagination after winning bronze, defeating Germany in the third-place playoff. Whereas, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Mirabai Chanu won silver in wrestling and weightlifting respectively.

India's badminton sensation PV Sindhu did not disappoint her fans as she bagged her second successive Olympic medal, a bronze this time around, after beating China's He Bing Jiao. Meanwhile, boxer Lovlina Borgohain and wrestler Bajrang Punia also finished on the podium after clinching the third position.

After the athletes returned to India, they were felicitated for their stupendous success as expected. And even Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated each one of them individually. The hysteria around Chopra was the most as he had bagged that elusive gold in athletics. However, more than 75 days have passed since the curtains were drawn on the grandest sporting event in Tokyo and the athletes have returned to business. Let's find out how the medal winners are preparing themselves for the upcoming challenges.

Neeraj Chopra

The ace javelin thrower has hit the training pitch once again, almost two-and-a-half months after winning that historic gold on August 7, 2021. He has joined the athletics national camp at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, Punjab which began on October 15 and is expected to go on till December 31.

Chopra will look to defend his Commonwealth Games and Asian Games titles and also eyes the World Championships in July next year. The Indian javelin thrower will continue to train with biomechanics expert Dr. Klaus Bartonietz.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya

Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya has returned to the mat to resume his training in his usual stomping ground after resting for close to two months. However, he pulled out of the 2021 World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway, which ran from October 2 to 10, due to lack of practice.

"We have started training. But the idea is to focus on my weaknesses and grow better ahead of the upcoming events," Dahiya told Olympics.com just a week earlier.

"The goal is to get selected through the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games (CWG) trials first. And then aim to bring home a medal from both the events. It will be the biggest thing," he added.

Mirabai Chanu

The Manipuri weightlifter resumed training in September itself. She is leaving no stone unturned to win gold at Paris 2024 and is working hard to tweak her technique to overcome her main rival in Hou Zhihui of China.

"Our snatch is weak. We are trying to improve on it. There is no problem in strength. Clean & jerk is a strength event and snatch is a technical event. Our strength is the most. But now we are trying to put our mind on improving the snatch technique," coach Vijay Sharma told Olympics.com.

PV Sindhu in action 
Picture by Lintao Zhang/ Getty Images

PV Sindhu

The shuttler has not only hit the training court but has also made an appearance in the Denmark Open. However, she bowed out of the tournament following a 21-11, 21-12 loss to An Se-Young of South Korea in their women’s singles quarter-finals on Friday.

Lovlina Borgohain

The boxer has decided to skip the women's national championship but has already started to train in her personal capacity.

"She has been doing strength training. I told her now to get fit so that when training starts, there should be no excuses. She will return to full-fledged training once the nationals get over. Right now, the focus is on fitness," coach Sandhya Gunung stated to Olympics.com earlier in September.

India Men's Hockey Team

After winning a medal in the Olympics after 41 years, the Indian hockey team took a break for two months. In early October, they resumed training under coach Graham Reid.

"Our entire focus, for the time being, is on the Asian Champions Trophy in December this year and this month-long camp shall mainly target on improving the physical conditioning of the players," the Australian tactician said.

Bajrang Punia

The Tokyo 2020 bronze-medallist has resumed training after recovering from a knee injury. But he would not participate in any competition this year and would look to increase his fitness along with working on his leg defense.

"My knee is fine now. I started training just two days back. I am feeling good but I won't participate in any events this year," he said a few days back.

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