Dutee Chand
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Dutee Chand

The rapid rise in coronavirus threat across the world had led to sports associations and federations to suspend or postpone a number of sporting events. And a lot many of those events includes the Olympic qualification fixtures which in turn has hurt a quite a few of Indian athletes who were all geared up to grab that elusive ticket to Tokyo this summer. What adds to their fear is that there have been no discussions about future events or dates of tournaments postponed for the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Here is how India’s qualification scenario stands…

Athletics:

How many have qualified? 9 including Neeraj Chopra

How many potentially remain? 141 including Dutee Chand, Hima Das, Jinson Johnson, Muhammed Anas

Qualification scenarios for the remaining players – IAAF world rankings will decide the fate of the remaining 141 athletes. The rankings are based on the average of the best-five results over the qualification period which are weighed as per the importance of the events. So far, the two major competitions which have been postponed are – the World Indoor Championships in Nanjing and the World Team Racewalking Championships have been postponed.

Boxing:

How many have qualified? 9 including MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal

How many potentially remain? 4

Qualification scenarios for the remaining players – The recently-concluded Asian Boxing Qualifiers handed India a record nine pugilist for the Tokyo Olympics which includes MC Mary Kom, Amit Panghal, Vikas Krishan, Manish Kaushik, Lovlina Borgohain. And with four more potential boxers remaining, India have the chance to extend their number. These four have the World Olympic qualifiers awaiting in the month of May in Paris. The event is slated to begin from May 13 and will go on for a week. 

Wrestling:

How many have qualified? 4 including Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat

How many potentially remain? 14 including Sushil Kumar, Sakshi Malik and Pooja Dhanda

Qualification scenarios for the remaining players – These 14 wrestlers – three in men’s freestyle categories, six in Greco-Roman categories and 5 female freestyle wrestlers – have the impending Asian Olympic Qualifiers which is expected to begin from May. Besides, they also have the opportunity to earn quotas at the World qualifiers which has been postponed until June. 

Weightlifting:

How many have qualified? None

How many potentially remain? 2 including Mirabai Chanu and Jeremy Lalrinnunga

Qualification scenarios for the remaining players – This is the only event where India have failed to find an Olympic qualifier. The weightlifting event has a far different qualification system for the Olympics. Qualification depend on the IWF rankings on April 30, 2020. And these rankings subsequently depend on the three types of events – gold, silver and bronze – over the three different periods (1 November 2018 – 30 April 2019; 1 May 2019 – 31 October 2019; 1 November 2019 – 30 April 2020). To qualify for the Olympics, a player must have participated in at least one event of the three periods, must participate in at least six events overall which must include one gold event and one of either gold or silver event. The results over the three periods are then considered to decide the ranking of a player and subsequent qualification chances. 

However, coronavirus threat has led to the cancellation of the Asian Championships which was under the gold category. There has been no information so far conveyed by the IWF over the ranking scenario owing to the cancellation of the event.

Shooting: 

How many have qualified? 15

How many potentially remain? 4 including Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Anish Bhanwala

Qualification scenarios for the remaining players – ISSF ranking as of May 31 can still hand India with the four remaining Tokyo tickets. However, the postponement of the World Cup in New Delhi leave India with a bleak opportunity. However, with the event, as of now, scheduled for May, the shooters still have chances to boost their ranking. 

Badminton:

How many have qualified? None

How many potentially remain? 8 (6 singles and two doubles) including PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth 

Qualification scenarios for the remaining players – There are a total of 172 slots for qualification in badminton across the five events – men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. In singles category, there will be 38 competitors apiece in women’s and men’s category with each country allowed to send just two players each with the condition that their BWF ranking is 16 and above. Thomas & Uber Cup, Sudirman Cup, World Championships, Grade 2 and 3 BWF tour tournaments are some of the events that provided points for BWF Olympic ranking. 

Sindhu sits ahead with her career ranking at No.7 as of March 10 and Saina is the next-best possibility with her ranking of 22. In men’s category, B Sai Praneeth is ranked 11th and has the best chances of earning a direct qualification. Srikanth (21), Sourabh Verma (23) and Parupalli Kashyap (24) are the next-best possibilities. Meanwhile, in the doubles scenario, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy could be India’s only chance. 

With the coronavirus outbreak, a number of events have been affected including Swiss Open, India Open, Orléans Masters in France, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open and a number of Grade 3 events. But these events are only until April 12. Hence, the shuttlers still have a chance to grab on some useful points from the events thereafter. 

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