dipa karmakar
Dipa Karmakar has gone on to become a genuine medal contender for India in Rio Olympics. Pictured: Indian Gymnast Dipa Karmakar with her coach Biseswar Nandi at the Olympic Village in Rio De Janeiro on July 31, 2016.IANS

India is sending its biggest-ever contingent of athletes to the Olympics this time around and this does make our expectations high. Around 120 athletes over 12 disciplines will be doing what they do the best at the Rio Olympics 2016, scheduled to start Aug. 5.

Some of the big names are missing, that's a fact, but without ruing much over what has not happened, let us turn our attention to what can happen. There are plenty of medal contenders from India this time around and we have listed some names -- expected and unexpected ones -- who can really make Olympics 2016 their landmark event.

Here are a look at the sports and the medals in store:


Big names missing - Vijender Singh, Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar.

Medal contenders - Vikas Krishan

Athletes profile: Vikas, 24, can turn out to be the joker in the pack. Of course, the middleweight (74 kg) category boasts of plenty big names like Arlen Lopez Cardona (Cuba) and Michael O'Reilly (Ireland), but the Indian has age and the fire to perform. 

A Bronze medal winner at the Asian Games 2014 and a Silver medal winner at the Asian Boxing Championships 2015, Vikas is coming off with a win against Nickson Abaka of Kenya in an AIBA Pro Boxing held in Noida, India, in June 2016.


Big names missing - Sushil Kumar

Medal contenders - Yogeshwar Dutt, Babita Kumari, Vinesh Phogat 

Athletes profile: A knee injury could have come as a setback last year, but there is no hiding the fact that the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist would be giving out a dominating performance this time around as well. The 33-year-old won a gold medal both in the Asian Games 2014 and the Commonwealth Games 2014.

Babita, 26, is no doubt one of the best women wrestlers in India at the moment and she will be determined to making full use of her first-ever Olympics. The Commonwealth Games 2014 gold medallist is definitely going to make a mark in the 53kg freestyle wrestling category.

Babita's younger sister, Vinesh, 21, is also making her debut at the Olympics this time around. The Commonwealth Games 2014 gold medallist, who will compete in the 48kg freestyle wrestling category, has mentioned that she would want nothing less than a gold, following her successful training camp in Madrid ahead of the Olympics.


Big names missing - Vijay Kumar

Medal contenders - Jitu Rai, Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Heena Sidhu

Athletes profile: The Nepalese-origin Indian shooter Jitu is India's best bet to bring home a gold medal in the sport the country has dominated. The 29-year-old has bossed every event he has been a part of, in recent times. He won a hat-trick of gold medals in the Commonwealth Games 2014, the Asian Games 2014 and the ISSF World Cup 2014. He will compete in Rio in the the 50m and the 10m pistol events.

Bindra, who will be taking part in his last Olympics, will be looking to bow out on a high. The 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist in the 10m air rifle event was also named India's flag-bearer for Rio Olympics 2016.

Narang, another big name, will be expected to giving his best in the event. The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist may have slacked in recent years, but the 33-year-old is expected to shine once again in the big stage.

Heena, 26, is slowly getting to that position where she is being tagged as a real medal contender. The girl from Ludhiana won the Olympic quota after clinching a gold medal in the women's 10m air pistol at the Asia Olympic Qualifiers in New Delhi in January 2016. An Arjuna Award winner, she won the gold medal recently in the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait last year.


Big names missing - P Kashyap

Medal contenders - Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu

Athletes profile: Saina, making her third appearance in the Olympics at the age of 26, will be expected to bring the gold medal this time around. The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist may have had to battle a lot of injuries in recent years and slump in form, but she is expected to make it all count in the grandest stage of them all.

Sindhu, 21, may not be looking that good at the moment as she used to some years back, but don't expect the lanky shuttler to back down as she gets set for her maiden Olympics. The Hyderabadi is being billed as a genuine medal contender in Olympics 2016 after winning a gold in the South Asian Games women's team event and a silver in the singles event.

Other sports

Medal contenders - Deepika Kumari (Archery): The 22-year-old from Ranchi is a sureshot medal contender, with gold being her primary target. Deepika won the silver medal in the mixed recurve event with Atanu Das during the Archery World Cup 2016, after shooting a world record-leveling 686/720 in Shanghai earlier this year.

India women's hockey team: The women's team, to be led by Sushila Chanu, has been sensational in recent times. They sealed qualification for the Olympics after 36 years and currently, look like a dominant force. Although star player Ritu Rani was controversially omitted from the final Rio squad, the India eves, who won the South Asian Games 2016 gold, will be expected to give their best.

Dipa Karmakar: The 22-year-old Tripura girl who has made history will be expected to continue her magical run in the Rio Olympics 2016 too. One of those very few gymnasts to perfect the Produvona vault, Dipa, a bronze medallist at the 2015 Asian Gymnastics Championships, could turn out to be the dark horse for India this time around.

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