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  • Writer's pictureAaryan

Indian Quotas at Paris 2024: By the Numbers

India's Olympic qualifying campaign has come to a close and we can finally answer the question posed previously. Could we reach 100 quotas for the first time?

India's Final Quota Count: 95

Here's a breakdown of the quotas. Shooting and Athletics were by far the biggest sports, with India earning quotas in 16 sports overall. We just missed a couple of potential qualifications in Athletics, but Kiran Pahal and Sumit Nagal did incredibly well to earn unexpected quotas.

Tokyo Comparison

It's interesting to contrast this tally against the 90 from Tokyo 2020. 5 more quotas than Tokyo, but in fewer sports, with Fencing & Gymnastics missing from Tokyo's 18. The biggest gains come in Shooting & Archery, with smaller fluctuations in other sports canceling out for the most part. Women's Hockey is a major miss, but it was a narrow one. Archery is progressing well in India, with excellence in non-Olympic coumpound archery perhaps helping to spur on the recurve squads too.Wrestling is a sport where India should be on the rise, but incompetent management by the WFI has meant that potential has not been realised. Boxing has, internationally, been a sport in political turmoil for a few years and that has been tough to navigate for many countries, including India. Notably, the fallout between the IOC & IBA has meant that there were 30% fewer spots available in men's boxing, which partly explains why India will have only 2 male boxers at Paris, as opposed to 5 in Tokyo.

Historical Context

While we didn't hit the 100 mark, 95 is still the highest quota number India has ever had. It matches the increase we saw between Rio & Tokyo, indicating gradual improvement across sports, coming from athletes as opposed to large-scale systemic change. The last big jump was between London & Rio, which was when Indian athletics really picked up. There hasn't been another big improvement in Indian sporting representation since then. It is worth noting that the Paris quad has been a little different from those before, with a compressed competition cycle in many sports with only 3 years between Games. The introduction of the athlete cap has also meant a reduction in available quotas in most events. This has meant a reduction in events in certain weight category sports, and while this adversely affected Boxing as aforementioned, Wrestling was untouched, so it hasn't had major ramifications for India.

One of the challenges that India must tackle going forward is ensuring that the progression in Indian athletics can keep up with the progression in qualifying standards. Swimming is already a sport where Indian standards are well outpaced by the progress of global standards. Now that India has broken into the global athletics scene with consistent representation, we must try to avoid that same fate.

Overall, while perhaps not the 100 we could have hoped for, 95 is a healthy number. There is a lot of room for improvement in Indian sports administration, but more representation can be a step in the right direction.

Where might we be in 4 years' time, heading into LA 2028?


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