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First gender-balanced games in Olympics history: Indian Women Athletes for Tokyo Olympic 2020

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin on July 23 after a year-long delay because of the COVID-19. The upcoming event will end on 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Aiming for the Olympic glory Indian women athletes are headed to the Tokyo Games as well. The upcoming Tokyo Olympics is said to be the first gender-balanced game in Olympics history. The event is looking forward to equal participation from both men and women. Therefore, you can see female athletes are making space for themselves in the male-dominated affair. Times have certainly changed for the better as the decades passed and Indian women have been making their own history at the Olympics.

Here’s the list of Indian women athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020:

MARY KOM: Mary Kom is a six-time world champion and her being qualified for the Tokyo Olympics is not quite of a surprise. She had won the bronze at the 2012 Olympics as well. However, Ace Indian pugilist has said that the upcoming event will be her last. She sealed her spot in the 51kg category at the Tokyo Olympics in March last year. “Tokyo will be my last Olympics. Age matters here. I am 38 now, going on 39. Pretty sure I won’t be allowed to even if I am willing to carry on till Paris 2024”, she told the Olympic channel. 

SANIA MIRZA: After being qualified in 2021’s Tokyo Olympics, Sania became the first female athlete to represent India at four Olympics in Tennis. “I have had an amazing career, it’s just about believing in your abilities. I am in my 30s and I’m still here”, Mirza told Olympics.com.

PV SINDHU: Sindhu is already the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist in women’s singles and will be on the quest for a second Olympics medal. However, she has to look forward to overcoming the tough competition given by World No. 1 Tai Tzu-Ying and World No.2 Chen Yufei in the upcoming event.

VINESH PHOGAT: Phogat will represent India in Women’s Freestyle 53 kg as she is currently World No. 1 in that category. She is also the first Indian wrestler to book her ticket to Tokyo 2020. The 26-year old wrestler has won bronze at the 2020 Asian championships but won gold at the Matteo Pellicone tournament in Rome and now has emerged as the country’s biggest medal hope in Japan.

MIRABAI CHANU: Currently World No.2, Mirabai will be the only Indian to compete under Weightlifting in the Tokyo Olympics. This will be her second Olympics after the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. She shattered the world record in weight lifting to win the bronze medal at Asian Weightlifting Championships. The 26-year old world champion was earlier ranked 4th but North Korea’s withdrawal from the event propelled her to take second place.

MAANA PATEL: Maana is the first Indian female swimmer to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics through the universality quota. She has won gold medals in 50 backstrokes and 200-meter backstroke at the National games. Patel, 21, has joined Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash to have qualified for the event and secured direct entry.

MANU BHAKER: Manu Bhaker comes under the World’s best shooter and is now ready to show her skills in Olympics 2021. ”The Olympics, whenever it happens, is huge, so we need to be prepared. I am preparing for the Olympics as planned” she said in an interview with the Press Trust of India. The 19-year old is the youngest Indian to win a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup and will represent India in 10m Air Pistol in the upcoming competition.

CA BHAVANI DEVI: Bhavani has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and became the first fencer to do so for India. The eight-time national champion is not new to the qualification process as she has done this before in 2015.  She did not qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and even thought of quitting the sport then. “Though I lost early in the round of 96, I was able to maintain the points I got in the World Championship last year. By remaining in the top 2 in Asia by virtue of my points, I was able to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics”, Bhavani told Sportstar.

MANIKA BATRA: Manika Batra ranked world No. 18 in mixed doubles along with Sharath Kamal in table tennis. She is ready to represent India in women’s singles and mixed doubles table tennis events in the upcoming event.

SHUSHILA DEVI LIKMABAM: Shushila booked an Olympic berth in the Judoka Women’s Extra Lightweight (48kg) category. She has ranked 46th on the OGQ rankings with 989 points and is the highest-ranked Asian outside the top 18 in her weight division. Shushila is the first Indian Judoka who has won the ticket to Tokyo 2020 so far.

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