The Olympics is the greatest sporting event in the world, and it lived up to its image when it kicked off with a glitzy opening ceremony in Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5.
Even though multiple scandals grabbed headlines before the Indian contingent left for Rio, expectations from the Indian sportspersons are still riding high.
HT Café speaks to five Bollywood stars — who are big sports aficionados — about the Indian players and teams that they will root for during the ongoing sporting extravaganza.
Shiva Thapa (boxing): A probable medalist, Shiva is someone to watch out for.
Narsingh Yadav (wrestling): Before being exonerated, he made news for all the right and wrong reasons. But he, too, is a strong probable medalist.
Indian men’s hockey team: I will watch out for their performance largely due to my proximity to Sardar Singh (a member of the team). Coach Roelant Oltmans has said the team is improving; I hope it improves in time for the matches (smiles).
Saina Nehwal (badminton): The 2012 Olympics bronze medalist will again be India’s biggest hope in the sport.
Sania Mirza (tennis): Sania has been having a dream run at several Grand Slams. Also, her experience will come in handy.
Indian men’s hockey team: From failing to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics to entering the 2016 games on the back of a silver medal in the Champions Trophy — the team is clearly on the rise.
Deepika Kumari (archery): She is among India’s biggest medal hopes in the individual as well as the team events
Indian women’s hockey team: They have made it to the Olympics after 36 long years. So, it will be exciting to see how far they go
Shiva Thapa (boxing): Ranked sixth in the world in his category, Thapa has a lot of expectations riding on him.
Saina Nehwal (badminton): She’s the stuff champions are made of. If she’s in full form, she has a great chance to go all the way.
Dipa Karmakar (gymnastics): She has made history (she is the first female gymnast from India to qualify for the Olympics). The 22-year-old could be a dark horse.
Narsingh Yadav (wrestling): After making news for some unfortunate reasons, I’m sure he will be driven to focus on the job at hand — to win a medal.
Abhinav Bindra (shooting): I have rarely seen someone so perfectly balanced between poise, preparation and competitiveness.
Saina Nehwal (badminton): I have seen only a few sportspersons play with such sheer determination to bring glory to her and the country.
Dipa Karmakar (gymnastics): Hers is a fairy tale of rising despite great odds in a discipline that Indians have no history of excelling in. What a moment it is going to be for her when she competes in Rio!