A month to go for Paris Olympics, India ready to unleash its superstars

30 Days to go for Paris Olympics (Image: Paris 2024)

The Paris Olympics fever is in the air. At a time when the sporting world romances with football — Euro 2024 and the Copa America — plus the ICC T20 World Cup in cricket, it is the Olympics starting on July 26 which will grab eyeballs next month.

The last 30 days, are, indeed, fascinating, from many perspectives. These are troubled times for the world at large. War rages in many regions – Russia in conflict with Ukraine, Israel in Palestine and a few more troubled regions, though not much in the news.

The Olympic movement is all about peace, love and competing hard inside the arenas, where 10,500 athletes representing 206 countries will be vying for 329 medal events in 45 different disciplines. Even on Tuesday, there was an impassioned plea from the United Nations (UN) to observe a truce, which was welcomed by the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

The last Olympics too played out in troubled times, under the shadow of Covid-19. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, was in lockdown, and empty stands and so many restrictions for athletes made it a big nightmare.

Mercifully, Paris 2024 will be held in a more conducive atmosphere, though athletes from two countries, notably Russia and Belarus, will not be allowed  to compete under their national flags. The return of the Olympics to Paris after 100 years, with an emphasis on gender equality, is awaited with bated breath. Each nation which competes in Paris will come fully prepared. Mouth-watering contests are in store, across many arenas. At the heart of the Summer Games, there will be stringent security plus dope testing to such a level that none can escape scrutiny. It is needed, for doping is a menace which has become all pervasive. No country can say it has clean athletes in toto.

From an Indian perspective, these Olympics are very important. It is not about the number of athletes, but the quality which India will showcase, with medal prospects in almost every arena in Paris. The preparations have been outstanding and the money spent on camps, training, and achieving the qualifying marks has made the world sit up and take notice. Indian athletes no longer go to an Olympics “just to participate”. They are serious challengers across a whole gamut of disciplines from athletics to archery, and boxing to shooting.


The focus has been on quality and all the stake holders — athletes, coaches, support staff and, of course, the biggest supporter, Govt of India, the IOA and NGOs — have worked together. There are stories doing the rounds of how many crores of rupees have been spent.

The modern-day athlete, be it from the United States of America, Team GB (Great Britain) or India is aware that he or she has to work really hard to get to the top. Money is needed to train, slog, get the best coaches, physios, mental health experts, nutritionists and more on board. What will be very different is the gender equality, where women athletes from India, across sports, have become genuine medal contenders. How and why is a question which should not even be asked. It is this strong female presence which needs to be celebrated, as Indian women athletes break stereotypes and get ready to fire on the big stage.

India won seven medals in Tokyo, highlighted by Neeraj Chopra’s javelin gold. Whether India can win more gold medals this time in Paris is the question. The answer is a certain “yes”, as there are so many medal prospects, in the real sense. Shooting, where India has an awesome presence, will be exciting to watch, with 21 quotas won and 22 shooters representing India.

In track and field, the number of athletes who have qualified is bound to increase. “Do not be surprised when you see the final qualification list, based on rankings after it is put out, India will have 30 plus in track and field in Paris. Just wait,” World Athletics Vice President Adille Sumariwala told RevSportz. Sumariwala is also President of the AFI (Athletics Federation of India). Today, there is not just one Neeraj Chopra who can win a medal in Paris from the athletics arena. There are more waiting in the wings.

Across sporting disciplines, there are many serious medal contenders from India. Nobody talks of “bad luck” and so on anymore. Today, each Indian athlete is in beast mode and respected, if not feared, by athletes from other continents. Yes, it has taken many decades for India to rise in sport, but the growth has been well planned. No individual or a single organisation can take credit for how Indian athletes have blossomed. Just wait, 30 days to go for Paris 2024. Fasten your seat belts.