20 Day Countdown Begins For 2020 Olympics: Here's Who All Made the Cut This Week
Watch Video: Added travel guidelines for Indians has left athletes scrambling to avoid quarantine in Tokyo
With just over 20 days to go for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and with 29 June being the cut-off date for qualifications, India has seen a handful of sportspersons grab a last-minute berth, including Dutee Chand, Seema Punia, golfer Aditi Ashok and javelin-thrower Annu Rani.
Sajan Prakash became the first India swimmer to qualify automatically for an Olympic Games, while Ankita Raina has been finalised as Sania Mirza's doubles partner in Tokyo.
However, there have been some setbacks as well with Hima Das failing to qualify in the individual events. Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan also could not make the cut in the men's tennis doubles event, meaning India will have only one doubles team in Tokyo.
The Japanese government's special travel guidelines for 11 countries, including India, are proving to be problematic as it may end up disrupting the training schedule of India's hockey teams, table-tennis stars and also track and field athletes.
All members of the Indian contingent who travel from India will have to:
Undergo daily tests for seven days before departure for Tokyo
They will also need to go into voluntary quarantine three days before boarding their flight
The problematic clause is one that asks the athletes to physically distance themselves from the rest of the occupants of the Games Village for three days after their arrival. They will be tested daily there as well.
The last guideline, in particular, could cause some trouble as there is no separate training or dining area in the village for quarantined athletes, so there’s no clarity regarding if the Indians will be expected to sit in their rooms for three days – something that could severely impact their preparations.
While the IOA is in talks with the Games organisers for clarity on the guidelines, Indian boxing star MC Mary Kom has changed her training plans and left for Italy to join the rest of the Indian boxing contingent.
Mary was training in Pune till last week but with the new travel restrictions not applying to Indian athletes who fly into Tokyo from other countries, it was an easy decision and she will now arrive in Tokyo straight from Italy and avoid any quarantine period.
A historic nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and with the seedings announced, eight of them have been ranked at the Games with Amit Panghal seeded number one in the men’s 52-kg category.
Mary Kom is seventh in the 51-kg category. She had won a bronze at the London Olympics but missed the Rio edition after failing to qualify for the Games.
Among the last batch of Indian sportspersons to book a ticket to Tokyo was sprinter Dutee Chand, who qualified for the 100 meter and the 200 meter events. However, she didn't qualify based on the qualification timings but instead made the cut based on her world ranking in both the events.
Young track star Hima though could not make the cut after trying her best at two back-to-back qualification events in Patiala over the last week. She injured herself while taking part in a qualification event, and even though she ran with the injury, her timing was not good enough to help her make her Olympic debut.
Hima won the Under-20 World Championship in the 400m event but she missed the cut in that event as well as the 200m and 100m races. Hima's only outside change of travelling for the Olympics is if she's selected in the 4x400 meter mixed relay team but a lot will depend on how her injury heals and also who the federation decides to select.
There were some records also created in the last qualification weekend of the Olympics, with swimmer Sajan Prakash making the Olympics 'A' mark and qualifying for the Games – the first Indian to ever achieve the feat.
Joining him in the pool in Tokyo will be Srihari Nataraj, who also achieved the 'A' standard qualification mark in the 100m backstroke.
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