It is the International Youth Day 2021 on 12th August and the perfect opportunity this year to appreciate the accomplishments of the Indian youth in the field of sports.
Over the years, we have had several role models such as Deepika Kumari (archery), Mary Kom (boxing), Rani Rampal (Hockey), Saurabh Chaudhary (shooting), Lakshya Sen, and Manu Bhaker who have inspired young hearts all over the country to take an avid interest in sports, especially Olympics.
As the second most populous in the world, India is bustling with young energy and Youth Day is something that the youngsters of our country look forward to being a part of.
The International Youth Day celebrates the distinguished achievements of the youth of this diverse nation across several fields. However, International Youth Day 2021 can rightfully be dedicated to the exceptional performances by the Indian Sportspersons in the Tokyo Olympics.
Whether it is the silver Mirabai Chanu won in weightlifting or it is the historic gold bagged by the 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra in javelin throw — this has clearly been India’s glorious best medal haul ever in the history of Olympics.
At the end of the Tokyo Games, India finished 44th with one gold medal, two silvers, and four bronze medals, taking the total to seven as compared to six bagged at the 2012 London Games. As the country’s flag fluttered during the medal ceremonies, it filled every heart — young and old with pride and sheer appreciation for the young brigade.
India’s medals came in hockey, wrestling, boxing, badminton, and athletics. Given below is a list of the Indian medallists from the Tokyo Olympics whom we proudly celebrate this International Youth Day 2021:
Neeraj Chopra — Javelin Throw (Gold Medal)
Through Chopra came the first-ever Olympic Gold India won in athletics. His unparalleled display at the Tokyo games, registering the best throw at 87.58m sealed the deal for the country.
The world has since been wanting to learn all about the olympian! The Neeraj Chopra workout, his training regime, and his diet are the talk of every town world-over.
For Chopra however, it is years of hard work and dedication that have paid off, and what a win to celebrate just before the International Youth Day! This Gold is also India’s first since Abhinav Bindra bagged one in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and only the second-ever in individual events.
Ravi Dahiya — Wrestling (Silver Medal)
Ravi Dahiya, the Indian wrestler bagged the second spot in men’s freestyle wrestling, 57kg category. Dhaiya lost the final bout in a close call with ROC’s Zavur Uguev 4-7.
What came to light during the match was Dahiya’s sheer grit, determination, and perseverance as he pushed Uguev — a two-time world champion beyond his limits before he could close with an agonisingly difficult win. While it was Uguev’s experience that paid off, Dahiya’s training and technique were hard to miss.
As the youth in India enjoy a growing interest in fitness and healthy food, it is role models like Dhaiya that further spark the desire in many to push limits every day. There is a growing curiosity about the olympian diet and the olympian workout regime in the country today as more and more youngsters take to sports and training.
Mirabai Chanu — Weightlifting (Silver Medal)
Mirabai Chanu is an Indian weightlifter who won the silver medal in the women’s 49 kg category, lifting a whopping 202kg (87kg+115kg). She was second to Hou Zhihui of China, who won the Gold as Windy Aisah from Indonesia won the Bronze medal, finishing third after Chanu.
Mirabai’s win was India’s second in the medal tally in weightlifting in the Tokyo Olympics 2021. Previously it was weightlifter Karnam Malleswari who had won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
India’s Tokyo performances just ahead of the International Youth Day have further added sparkle to the celebrations.
PV Sindhu — Badminton (Bronze Medal)
The star of Indian badminton PV Sindhu added yet another medal to the nation’s kitty and hers of course as she defeated China’s He Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 in the Women’s Singles event to bag a bronze.
Sindhu is known to be a focused and determined player and the same reflects in her diet as well as workout. An ardent fan of home-cooked food the PV Sindhu diet primarily consists of fresh and dried fruits besides rice and veggies.
An inspiration for many young hearts the world over, the badmintonist is famous for her rigorous workout regime; also popular as the PV Sindhu workout routine — or a true Olympian workout. She trains for a minimum of seven hours a day, six times a week, and is known to be an early bird who gets up at 3:30 in the morning to hone her skills. Her morning routine consists of 200 situps and 100 pushups, besides swimming, yoga, and running, that she does during the day. Her single sessions are known to last a minimum of 1000 shuttles!
Lovlina Borgohain — Boxing (Bronze Medal)
The nation’s third-ever Olympic medal in the sport of boxing came during the Tokyo Olympics via Lovlina Borgohain. The boxer secured a bronze medal in the women’s welterweight (64-69kg) category. Previously, Vijender Singh (2008) and MC Mary Kom(2012) had won bronze medals.
Lovina’s performance in the final round was a reflection of her sheer grit and determination as she competed with rival champion Busenaz Surmeneli from Turkey. Although she lost, her hard work years of effort secured a bronze for her. The Silver was won by China’s Hong Gu who lost in the finals to the Turkish sportsperson.
Indian Team — Men’s Hockey (Bronze Medal)
A 41-year old Olympics medal drought has come to an end with the Indian men’s hockey team defeating Germany 5-4. Registering a nail-bitingly exciting victory in the bronze medal match, India — an eight-time Gold medal winner at the Olympics — has made a strong comeback.
The team’s last Olympic medal was won at the Moscow Games in 1980 where they sealed the deal with Gold. However, this time, despite the strict lockdown and COVID protocols, the team continued with their olympian diet and strict olympian workout regime, irrespective of whether they were at home or training together under an Olympics-simulated environment at Bengaluru. This itself was a feat to achieve for such a large-scale coordinated effort, given the widespread of the pandemic in India.
Bajrang Punia — Wrestling (Bronze Medal)
One of India’s most avid freestyle wrestlers Bajrang Punia won the bronze medal for Men’s Freestyle Wrestling in the 65kg category. Punia went up against Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov and emerged as champion by a landslide score of 8-0.
His other accomplishments include winning the gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth games under the 65kg category, a bronze medal in the 2019 World Championship, and more recently, the silver medal in the 2021 Asian Championship.
Hailing from a humble background, Punia has always believed in keeping it simple. He loves natural, organic foods and that is why ghee is an integral part of the Bajrang Punia’s diet. This helps him keep his glycogen levels at an all-time high and boost his ATP levels to support his anaerobic training regime. Punia also consumes a lot of dried fruits, such as walnuts and almonds.
His Olympian diet has been carefully tailored to match the intense Bajrang Punia’s workout that the country’s youth cannot stop talking about. Punia does a high-intensity combination of several exercise forms including strength training, weight lifting, cross-fit, basic cardio, and body balancing training.
It is not possible to ignore the role of youth in the future of any nation. Let us pledge as a nation this International Youth Day 2021 to constructively use the power of youth in this nation. With more of today’s generation taking an active interest in the field of sports, it won’t be long before India makes a name for itself at prominent sporting events like the Olympics.