After being delayed for a year, the Tokyo Olmpics is set to start off next week. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will award medals across 339 events, representing 33 different sports. Interestingly, there are 5 sports making debut in the global arena this year.
India athletes have been arduously preparing for the event and now is the time for them to demonstrate their strentghs. This year more than 100 athletes have qualified for the Olympics, in which 52 of them are female atheletes. The Indian contingent, whose average age is 26, has shooter Mairaj Ahmed khan, 45, as the oldest, whereas rifle shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar is the youngest. The group is packed up with young blood and Indian fans are expecting a good fight this time. For many years the inclusion of various local sports gives the competition its diversity.
Let us have a look at some of the local sports :
Teer Khel, popularly known as Archery, is a more of a leisure activity in Meghalaya. Among people of the Khasi tribe archery has been both a sport and a form of defense for several centuries.
The sport has become an integral part of the culture of several other northeastern states of India, such as, Manipur. In the Olympics there are 4 archers from India, 3 men and 1 woman. Deepika Kumari, being the World No. 1 in her category is India’s biggest medal hope.
The sport originated in Maharashtra around 200 years ago. The name Mallakhamb derives from the term malla, meaning wrestler, and khamb, which means pole.. In the Oympics the mallakhamb players are all set to make their mark. It will be a demonstrative sport for the first time in Tokyo Olympics. The sports include acrobatic feats atop a thin rosewood pole greased with castor oil, and the athlete perform balancing acts on the pole. 46 top players of the country will be in the contingent representing the ancient Indian sport.
In the Berlin Olympic Games after seeing the acrobats’ death defying gymanstics, amazed by it Adolf Hitler gifted honorary Olympic medal to each gymnast.
Jallikattu and Kambala
Jallikattu is a 2,000 year old sport. It is organized all over Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. Being a traditional sport people partcipate in large numbers every year. In the sport, a bull is released into a crowd of people, and participants attempt to grabe the large hump on the bull’s back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop.
Kambala is another event held annualy where buffalo race isorganised mostly in the state of Karnataka.
Kushti, Pehlwani, Kukha, Mukna
Malla-yuddha, or freestyle wrestling has been a part of the culture of Haryana, Punjab and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh for centuries.
The Mughals in the 13th century refined the sport practiced in akharas. With years passing and the inclusion this sport in Oympics, the sport has went several changes. In Olympics, mud clay has been replaced by artificial mats and what was predominantly a male sport has now seen the participation of female in significant numbers. This year 4 wrestlers are participating in the Olympics- Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia and Ravi kumar.
Vallam Kali, Nouka Baich, Nao Khel
These are the sports featuring boat races in different states. Vallam Kali is organised every year during onam in Kerala, whereas Nouka Baich is a tradition of West Bengal and Nao Khel is from the state of Assam. In the Tokyo Olympics, Indian sailors Nethra and Vishnu are all set along with the pair of Varun Thakkar and Ganapathy Chengappa. This is the first time that the country will field sailors in three events.
Likewise, there are several other events this year at the Olympics which Indians must feel proud about. With players devoting their full dedication and determination the country is waiting for a year that although started on a bad note, to end with a moments of pride.
Content creator : Nishant Mishra