Olympic Day: Winning laurels for India, sportspersons prep for Paris 2024
On Olympic Day (June 23), five Indian sportspersons who have been in the news lately for their achievements share how they are prepping for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. Read on to know how HS Prannoy, Chirag Shetty, Avani Prashanth, Tejaswin Shankar and Harmilan Bains are embracing #LetsMove, which is the theme of Olympic Day 2023.
With unwavering determination, Indian sportspersons who have been in the news lately for their varied achievements, share their aspirations to win the coveted medals for India at Paris 2024 where XXXIII Olympic Games will take place. With plans to leave an indelible mark on the world stage, they share how they are adding their blood and sweat to their prep.
Harmilan Bains: Paris is the ultimate destination for my dream
Having qualified for the upcoming Asian Games (September 23 to October 8), with her recent second place win at the National Inter-State Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar (Odisha), the 24-year-old sprinter says: “I always aspired to have my own name announced on the track when I used to see my parents during their professional days. I guess, Paris is where I’d want it to stop as that’s the ultimate destination for this dream to come true.” Bains, daughter of former athletes Madhuri Saxena and Amandeep Bains, is now eager to carry forward her family’s legacy and make her parents (former international athletes) proud as well. “By winning the various national events and performing well at the coming Asian Games I’ve already set foot forward for Olympics. And now I’m just trying to stay in form by exercising regularly. I’ve also been following a vigorous protein and fat rich diet after a year-long rest due to my back injury,” she adds.
HS Prannoy: Target is to be in top five without injuries
“We have more than 20 tournaments in the next 10 months and the first hurdle in the process is to qualify for Paris and that is the main focus at the moment,” says HS Prannoy, badminton player, who recently bagged his first Badminton World Federation title at the Malaysian Masters and is World No 9 at present. The 30-year-old adds, “Looking at the recent performances, I believe consistency is the key because we have almost 25 tournaments from May 2023 to April 24 which a full year to sustain our scores even if we are doing well currently which is why I want to play as much as I can, with target to get to the top 5 of the world rankings without any injuries.”
Chirag Shetty: There’s nothing more than an Olympic medal
“As a part of my vigorous training, I eat a lot of protein and a few carbs. Beginning at 7am, I eat breakfast and arrive at the academy. Before warm up, I practise strength training for 30 minutes and by 9am, I’m ready to play,” says the 25-year-old from Mumbai, who recently won a men’s double at the Indonesia Open along with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. “The win surely acts as a catalyst to our qualifying process, but I hope to maintain the momentum so that we make it to Paris. There’s nothing more a player would want than an Olympic medal.”
Avani Prashanth: I’ll surely make my country proud
The amateur golfer recently made headlines for a rare feat. “I would be turning professional in December, this year, after which I will have at least 12 to 16 tournaments that will help me build my score to qualify for the Olympics, and that’s my end goal for this season,” shares Avani Prashanth, 16, who also won the Asia-Pacific Queen Sirikit Cup in February. “For Olympics, I am working on my sidearm and hamstring swings. I practice for at least six hours a day on the driving range itself because golf courses comes with a lot of pressure to putt. This is an ongoing process and is also taking place through my amateur games and daily practice sessions,” she adds. The Indian Golf Federation chooses the top two golfers in the World Rankings to represent the country, and Prashanth says, “Given my recent win and finish-9 at the LET Magical Kenya Ladies Open where I was an amateur player, I was given an exception to play with professional golfers. I firmly believe I will be able to make my country proud.”
Tejaswin Shankar: The target is to make a mark in Paris
“I was a vegetarian initially but now my career depends on the protein intake that I include in my diet with meat, which is once a day,” says athlete Tejaswin Shankar, 24, who bagged a gold at the National Inter-State Athletics Championship on June 17. After competing in nine disciplines over two days in extreme heat and humid conditions of Bhubaneswar (Odisha), it came down to the final 1,500m for Shankar to breach the Asian Games qualifying mark of 7,500 points. Shankar adds, “The target is to make a mark in Paris, because the national and international performances are what decide the course. Currently, a regular practice schedule where I need to work vigorously for seven hours, especially on my high jump and running capacity.”
Author tweets @maishascribbles