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  • Writer's pictureAaryan

India at Paris 2024: Who Has Already Qualified?

We are almost exactly 4 months away from the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, meaning Olympic qualifying season is in full swing. The next couple of months bring the final chances for aspiring athletes to secure their spot in Paris in several sports, with some others already having been decided. As we look ahead to the remaining qualifiers, now is a good time to take a look at the Indian athletes who have already earned quota places for the Olympics.


Before we begin, it's important to clarify that we are looking at quota places, not total athlete number. You can think of this as the number of event participations India will have, i.e., a hockey team counts as 1, not 16. Depending on the sport and event, these may be awarded either to the athlete or the country. An athlete quota cannot be used by anyone else, so it is that same athlete who earned the quota that goes to the Olympics. On the other hand, the Indian Olympic Association can award an NOC quota to a different Indian athlete than the one who earned it, should they choose.


Neeraj Chopra will look to defend his Olympic title in the Javelin in Tokyo. Photo from: Olympics.com

Thus far, India has secured 47 quota places for the Paris 2024 Games, which is just over half of the 90 ultimately secured for Tokyo. With qualification windows for many sports going well into June, many are hopeful that the Indian contingent will cross that number from Tokyo and perhaps surpass the 100-mark as well. The likelihood of that is a topic for another time, however. For now, let us consider the 47.


Hockey


India's hockey teams were very impressive in Tokyo, with the men's team winning Bronze, and the women's team finishing 4th. So, both teams would have begun the qualifying campaigns for Paris with high hopes. The men's team delivered on that by winning Gold at the Asian Games last year. It came as quite a surprise, however, when the women's team narrowly missed out on qualifying at the final Olympic Qualifying tournament this January. A nail-biting shootout loss to Germany in the semi-finals proved pivotal. Alas, there will only be one Indian hockey team in Paris this summer.


Quotas Places: 1 - Men's Team


Athletics


Qualification works a little differently here. There is a certain Olympic Qualifying Time/Mark for each event. If an athlete achieves that benchmark during the qualifying period, they earn a quota place. Any quotas not fulfilled that way are given out based on athlete rankings at the end of the qualifying period. 9 Indian athletes have achieved qualifying marks so far, and another 2 are ranked high enough that their Olympic spots should be safe come judgement day on 30th June. Many others may qualify - not to mention potential relay teams - but that remains uncertain. The Road to Paris (RTP) rankings as they currently stand can be viewed here.


Quota Places: 9 (+2)


M Javelin: Neeraj Chopra, Kishore Jena, DP Manu (RTP - 11/32). M 3000m SC: Avinash Sable. F 3000m SC: Parul Chaudhary. F 20km Racewalk: Priyanka Goswami. M 20km Racewalk: Akshdeep Singh, Suraj Panwar, Ram Baboo. M Long Jump: Murali Sreeshankar. F 100m Hurdles: Jyothi Yarraji (RTP 23/40).


Kishore Jena (above) and DP Manu will join Chopra in Paris, cementing India's recent emergence in Javelin. Photo from: Olympics.com

Shooting


India's marksmen and markswomen (markspeople?) have been very impressive in the build of this Olympic cycle, and it is the sport with the best qualification campaign thus far, accounting for almost half the quota spots secured. Quotas for shooting are earned at specific qualification competitions. These are NOC quotas, however, so who will actually be at the Olympics is not yet certain. There will be a series of selection trials in April & May to decide the Olympic team. For now, I will name the athletes who earned the quotas.


Shooting accounts for nearly half of the country's Olympic quotas so far. Photo from: Olympics.com/NRAI

Quota Places: 23


M 50m Rifle (3Pos): Swapnil Kusale, Akhil Sheoran. M 10m Rifle: Rudrankksh Patil, Arjun Babuta. M 25m Pistol (RF): Anish Bhanwala, Vijayveer Sidhu. M 10m Pistol: Sarabjot Singh, Varun Tomar. M Trap: Bhowneesh Mendiratta. M Skeet: Anantjeet Singh Naruka. F 50m Rifle (3Pos): Sift Kaur Samra, Shriyanka Sadangi. F 10m Rifle: Mehuli Ghosh, Tilottama Sen. F 25m Pistol: Manu Bhaker, Rhythm Sangwan. F 10m Pistol: Esha Singh. F Trap: Rajeshwari Kumari. F Skeet: Raiza Dhillon. 10m Rifle X Team: 2 Teams. 10m Pistol X Team: 1 Team.


Boxing


Paris 2024 may well be the last time we see Boxing at the Olympics for a while, with the sport in complete disarray outside the ring. This makes the stakes for qualification higher than ever for boxers, as it may be their only chance to reach the Olympics. Ever since Mary Kom inspired a new generation of boxers, women's boxing in India has shown great success. That has carried through into this qualifying campaign, with the women's strong showing at the Asian Games. What is surprising, however, is that no male boxers have yet qualified for the Olympics. They will all have a final chance to secure a quota in May with the final qualifying tournament.


Quota Places: 4


F 50kg Flyweight: Nikhat Zareen. F 54kg Bantamweight: Preeti Pawar. F 57kg Featherweight: Parveen Hooda. F 75kg Middleweight: Lovlina Borgohain.


Nikhat Zareen will be a top medal prospect in Paris

Table Tennis


Indian teams impressed at the Table Tennis Team World Championships in January, with their performances bumping up their rankings to qualify both the men's and women's teams for the Olympics. This earned two quota spots in each of the Singles events too, which will be taken by the highest ranked Indian players in June.


Quota Places: 6


M Team, M Singles: Sharath Kamal Achanta, Sathiyan, Gnanasekaran. F Team, F Singles: Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula.


Wrestling


India's biggest chance to qualify for the Olympics in Wrestling will come in April with the Asian Qualifiers, but we cannot demand much when Indian governance of the sport refuses time and again to put the athlete first. A shame, really, for one of the nation's most successful sports. Still, there will be at least one Indian wrestler at the Olympics, with Anti Panghal earning a quota spot by winning a medal at the 2023 World Championships.


Quota Places: 1 - F 53kg Freestyle: Antim Panghal


Equestrian


Equestrian is one of the sports that has already concluded its qualification for the Olympics, with the final rankings locking in on 31 Dec, 2023. Anush Agarwalla secured a quota spot at that point via his ranking in the individual dressage.


Quota Places: 1 - Dressage Individual: Anush Agarwalla


Archery


Indian are perhaps the best in the world right now - in Compound archery - a non-olympic discipline (sigh). But they aren't too shabby with the olympic Recurve bow either, with Indian archers having become mainstays of olympic competition in recent editions. Qualification for Paris will only be finalised in June, but India secured one spot already at the Asian Qualifying competition last year.


Quota Places: 1 - M Individual: Dhiraj Bommadevara


Sailing


Single-handed sailor Vishnu Saravanan has secured his second Olympic appearance on a Laser boat, as the only Indian sailor currently qualified for Paris.


Quota Places: 1 - M ILCA7: Vishnu Saravanan


Weightlifting


Olympic qualification will be confirmed based on the rankings as they stand on April 28th. But Mirabai Chanu, the star from Tokyo who is carrying the weight of all of the nation's hopes in the sport, has all but secured her spot as she currently ranks 2nd to qualify in her event. She just needs to weigh in at the IWF World Cup this weekend, and her quota should be virtually guaranteed.


Quota Places: (+1) - F 49kg: Saikhom Mirabai Chanu


That sums up the 47 confirmed quota places so far, with 3 more quite certain to follow, to make up 50 in all. Shooting has proved bountiful for Olympic qualification thus far. I expect many more Indian qualifiers in Athletics through the world rankings come June, and in Badminton after the April world rankings. Beyond that, the next 2-3 months will be filled with several key competitions where many aspiring Olympians from India will be vying for coveted quota places - in Boxing, Wrestling, Archery, and more. Be sure to follow along!






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