They are young, ambitious and are hell-bent on winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. Here is our pick of the top athletes under the age of 22 who could make the Summer Games their own.
Katie Ledecky (USA)
Watch her swim, and you wouldn’t believe she is just 19 years of age. US swimmer Katie Ledecky has dominated the sport like no other, setting and breaking world records as it were card stacks. Till date, she has set 11 world records, in 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle swimming. Having already won a gold in London Games in 2012, she is looking for a hat-trick of freestyle gold medals in Rio.
Simone Biles (USA)
Another 19-year-old American makes it to the list. While Ledecky thrives on water, Simone Biles hangs in the air, for really, really long time. Biles’ gymnastic routines on the balance beam appears to defy gravity, such is the height and the ‘hang time’ she achieves in each of her leaps. If Usain Bolt is a freak of nature with his unique running style, Biles is the masterpiece.
Travyon Brommel (USA)
For most, men’s 100 metre sprint is about Usain Bolt against Justin Gatlin. However, this 21-year-old American could steal the thunder from the established duo. The world record holder in the junior circuit, he won the bronze medal in the 2015 World Championship, behind, yes, Bolt and Gatlin.
Dipa Karmakar (India)
Pioneering, bold, ambitious and a fighter. Tripura-born Dipa Karmakar has come a long way since trying out the makeshift gymnastic equipment in Agartala. With the revised scoring system in gymnastics giving a higher base point for tougher routines, Dipa, 21, stands a very good chance of landing India a first ever medal in the sport, for her ‘Produnova vault’ is the toughest of all.
This 19-year-old from China would be competing against Dipa in the women’s vaults. Tan Jiaxin has upped her game spectacularly over the years and is seeking a rich haul of gold medals in the gymnastics. Besides, vault, she would be competing on floor, uneven bars and balance beam. She is China’s answer to US duo of Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas.