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Year Ender 2016: India at the Rio Olympics

A total of 117 athletes represented India at the Rio Olympics. (Photo credit: Reuters)

A total of 117 athletes represented India at the Rio Olympics. (Photo credit: Reuters)

A look at the Indian athletes' performance at the Rio Olympics.

A total of 117 athletes (63 men and 54 women) across 15 disciplines were fielded by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) at the Rio Olympics. It was the country’s largest ever delegation sent to the Olympics.

Considering the number of star-studded athletes and their pre-Olympic preparations, the expectations were high. It was expected that India’s haul of 6 medals at the 2012 London Olympics would be surpassed.

But sadly, the athletes failed to rise to the occasion and of the 117 participants, only two managed to win a medal. The Indian contingent left Rio with just a silver (PV Sindhu in Badminton) and bronze (Sakshi Malik in Wrestling).

Thankfully, Sindhu and Sakshi saved India the blushes of returning empty handed, like they had from the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Not to forget Dipa Karmakar’s heart-warming show in Gymnastics, although she fell just short of winning a medal.

With 2016 coming to an end, News18 Sports takes a look at India’s performance at the Rio Games:


THE STARS – SINDHU & SAKSHI: The two saved India the blushes at the quadrennial event. While Sindhu gave India its first silver medal in Badminton (Women’s singles event), Sakshi won a bronze in Wrestling (Women’s 58kg category).

PV Sindhu won silver at the 2016 Rio Games. (Photo credit: Reuters) PV Sindhu won silver at the 2016 Rio Games. (Photo credit: Reuters)

HEART-WARMING SHOW BY DIPA: Another star who hogged the limelight was gymnast Dipa Karmakar. She missed out on an Olympic medal, but her performance won her millions of hearts. The Tripura girl averaged 15.066 points to finish fourth in the eight-woman vault final.

Dipa was the first Indian gymnast to make the cut for the Olympics in 52 years. The last time an Indian participated in Gymnastics at the Olympics was in 1964. Till date, 11 Indian men gymnasts have competed in the Olympics — two in 1952, three in 1956 and six in 1964.



London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal was expected to further raise the bar in Rio. She entered the quadrennial event as World No. 5 and her Australian Open Super Series victory just ahead of the Olympics made her a strong medal contender.

However, her second round exit after a shock defeat against Ukraine’s Maria Ulitina ended the star’s Rio dreams.


Deepika Kumar was the lone medal contender in archery for India. The former World No. 1 was in tremendous form ahead of the Rio Games. She shot 686 in the 72-arrow ranking round at the Archery World Cup in April. She had a big chance to bury the London ghosts and win an Olympic medal.

But the Indian archery ace Deepika faced an ouster in the pre-quarters in the individual event. Deepika was blanked 0-6 by World No. 2 Tan Ya-Ting of Chinese Taipei.

Deepika Kumari once again disappointed at the Rio Olympics. (Photo credit: Reuters) Deepika Kumari once again disappointed at the Rio Olympics. (Photo credit: Reuters)

In the women’s recurve competition too, Deepika failed to deliver as India lost 4-5 to Russia.

Atanu Das, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi were the other Indians who failed to reach the quarter-finals.


A total of 12 shooters, including men and women, represented India in Rio. Among them, Jitu Rai (50m pistol and 10m air pistol), Gagan Narang (10 m air rifle, 50 m rifle prone and 50 m rifle 3 positions), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (Trap) and Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra (10m air rifle) were the medal contenders in Rio.

India had won 2 medals at the London Olympics, when Vijay Kumar won a silver medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol category and Gagan Narang gave India a second medal when he won a bronze in the 10m air rifle category.

Despite a star-studded shooting contingent, India returned empty-handed from Rio. London Olympics bronze medallist Narang participated in three disciplines, but failed in the qualification round.

Star trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu signed off at 16th in the qualification round. Manavjit shot 23, 23, 22, 25, 22 to total 115.


Out of seven wrestlers representing India in Rio, only one won the medal – Sakshi. While Sakshi emerged as the dark horse for the country, London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt suffered a shock defeat in the opening round against Mongolia’s Ganzorigiina Mandakhnaran.

Apart from Yogeshwar, Sandeep Tomar (57kg) and Greko-roman wrestlers Ravinder Khatri (85kg) and Hardeep Singh (98kg) were the names in the Men’s category who failed to reach the quarter-finals of their respective events.

In the women’s freestyle category, apart from bronze medallist Sakshi, Babita Kumari (53 kg) and Vinesh Phogat (48 kg) represented India.

Vinesh lost to China’s Yanan Sun in the quarter-final stage after a freak injury cost her the match. The 21-year-old Indian was taken off on a stretcher.


India entered the Rio Games with three boxers. After Vijender Singh (bronze medal in the Men’s category at the Beijing Olympics) and MC Mary Kom (bronze medal in the Women’s category at the London Olympics), India were hoping for at least one medal in Rio.

Shiva Thapa had already represented India at the London Olympics. Thapa didn’t live up to the expectations as he suffered a first-round exit from the Games after losing to Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez in a one-sided clash in the Men’s bantamweight category.

In the Men’s light welterweight category, Manoj Kumar won the first round against Lithuania’s Evaldas Petrauskas, but was shown the door in the second round after losing to Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.

Vikas Krishan Yadav represented the country in the Men’s middleweight category. Vijender had won a medal in Beijing in the same category. Yadav started his Rio campaign with a bang, winning the first two bouts to cruise into the quart-finals. Vikas’ loss in the quarter-finals against Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev drew the curtains on the Indian boxing challenge in the Games.


India’s last podium finish in the Olympics came in 1980 in Moscow. Eight-time gold medallist India, lost a great opportunity to create history after a gap of 36 years to climb the medal podium.

India squandered a one goal advantage to go down 1-3 to Belgium in the quarter-finals and crashed out of the Olympics.

So Near Yet So Far:

Beijing Olympics Gold medallist and shooting ace Bindra narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing fourth in the final of the men’s 10m air rifle contest. Bindra finished with a total score of 163.8 points.

Abhinav Bindra finished fourth at Rio. (Photo credit: Reuters) Abhinav Bindra finished fourth at Rio. (Photo credit: Reuters)

The Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna went down fighting in the semi-finals of the mixed doubles event. Sania and Bopanna, who won the first set quite comfortably, squandered the lead and went down 6-2, 2-6, 3-10 against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of the United States in one hour and 17 minutes.


Boppana and Paes: There were reports that Rohan Bopanna didn’t want to pair up with Leander Paes in the doubles event at the Rio Olympics, preferring young sensation Saketh Myneni.

The 47-year-old Paes, who won a medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and Bopanna were defeated 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) by Poland’s Lukas Kubot and Marcin Matkowski in the first round.

Narsingh Yadav and Sushil Kumar: Narsingh was picked ahead of the double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar to represent India at the Rio Games in the 74kg category.

Narsingh was ousted from the Olympics and slapped with a four-year ban for flunking a dope test after the ad hoc division of Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) overturned the clean chit given to him by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

OP Jaisha: Indian woman athlete OP Jaisha collapsed while participating in the marathon at the Rio Olympics.

Revealing the reason, Jaisha claimed she was not provided with water and energy drinks by the officials despite designated stations being given to India.

Jaisha collapsed at the finishing line and taken to the hospital.