India has sent its strongest ever army of athletes to participate at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the nation has a huge set of expectations and hopes on all the 118 guns. Here is a list of athletes hailing from South India that are ready to make their mark at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
1. Sania Mirza:
The Hyderabadi star is the first Indian to enter the top 30 WTA rankings in singles and top 10 in doubles. With a variety of titles and medals to her name, this is the second time Sania is entering Olympics after the 2012 London Olympics.
2. Saina Nehwal:
Saina Nehwal is India’s best hope for 2016 Rio Olympics. This Khel Ratna award winner is the first Indian woman to reach the singles quarterfinal stage at the Olympics (2008 Olympics) and also the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton which she did at the 2012 London Olympics.
3. Gutta Jwala:
This leading mixed doubles and doubles’ specialist is the first Indian to qualify for two events at the Olympics. Having won 13 National Badminton Championships, there are high expectations on her at this Olympics.
4. Rohan Bopanna:
Professional Tennis player Rohan Bopanna has been selected to participate in the 2012 London Olympics in the Men’s Doubles category partnering Mahesh Bhupathi and he’s set to do some magic at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
5. Ashwini Ponnappa:
This elite badminton player has a successful record together with Jwala Gutta as the pair have won many medals in international events. This is second time Ashwini is playing the Olympics.
6. Gagan Narang:
The first Indian to qualify for the London Olympics, Gagan won the Men’s 10 m rifle event at London. Gagan is now a hot favorite at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
7. PV Sindhu:
Hailing from Pullela Gopichand’s Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, Sindhu is the first ever Indian women’s singles player to win a medal at the World Championships. In 2015, She received India’s fourth highest civilian honor Padma Shri and it is the first time she’s entering Olympics.
8. Vikas Gowda:
Vikas is a discus thrower and a shot putter. He contested at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but couldn’t reach the finals after finishing 22nd in the qualifiers. In 2012 London Olympics, Vikas qualified for the finals, at the fifth place, and finished 8th in the finals. The 2016 Rio Olympics are going to be his third outing at the games.
9. Poovamma Raju Machettira:
Poovamma, an Indian sprinter participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is currently ranked No.2 in Asia in the 400m category. Having the prestigious Arjuna award in her bag, she is entering 2016 Olympics with confidence.
10. Renjith Maheshwary:
Triple jumper Renjith committed three consecutive foul jumps at the qualifying stage at the 2012 Olympics, stopped his Olympic campaign. Having performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well, this is Renjith’s 3rd shot at Olympics.
11. B Sumeeth Reddy:
B. Sumeeth Reddy, a 25 year Indian badminton player currently plays men’s doubles and it is his first shot at Olympics. Though he doesn’t have any significant titles to his name, he is an interesting case at these games in Rio.
12. SK Uthappa:
SK Uthappa is a professional field hockey player who was a part of the hockey team that secured qualification to the 2012 London Olympics. Having played in all the matches at the 2012 games, a lot of eyes are on his performance at the 2016 games.
13. Thonakkal Gopi:
Gopi started his career off by training with the Army Sports Institute (ASI) and continued to be part of the runners group and he is set to prove his worth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
14. Ayyasamy Dharun:
This 19 year old relay sprinter is now living his dream to get into the Olympics and that too at a very tender age. Dharun’s personal best remains at 48.24 seconds set in Bangalore back in 2013 in the 400 meters event.
15. Kynan Chenai:
The 24 year old trap shooter from Hyderabad is going to set foot at the Olympics for the first time and he has won the Asia Olympic Shooting qualifiers in Delhi earlier.
16. KN Puthanpurakkal:
This 28 year old Indian sprinter is a specialist in the 400m event. In July 2016, Muhammed was part of the relay team that broke the national 4×400m relay at Bangalore and qualified for the Olympics and he is now ready to prove himself at Rio.
17. Sharath Kamal Achanta:
Sharath is a professional table tennis player and he is considered to be one of the best in the business that India has ever produced. The 33 year old has represented India at the 2004 Athens Olympics and he has pulled his socks up to shine at the 2016 games.
18. Nikkin Thimmiah:
The 25 year old field hockey player is a specialist forward player. He has some titles to his bag at the regional tournaments and it is his first outing at Olympics this time.
19. Ashwini Akkunji:
This Udupi born sprinter is a specialist in 400m. Having won gold medals at Commonwealth games and Asia games, Ashwini is entering the Olympivs for the first time.
20. Sajan Prakash:
The 22 year old swimmer created history on 8 February 2015 by winning 6 gold and 3 Silver medals in Indian National Games and he is setting his foot for the first time at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
21. PR Sreejesh:
The current Indian hockey team Captain is a goalkeeper in the squad and it is also his first Olympic outing at the 2016 Rio games.
22. Sathish Sivalingam:
The 24 year old weightlifter, hailing from Tamil Nadu, won the gold medal in the men’s 77kg weight class at the 2014 Commonwealth games and he is making his debut entry into Olympics.
23. Srikanth Kidambi:
Also hailing from Gopichand’s Academy in Hyderabad, Srikanth Kidambi is a badminton player and currently the highest ranked Indian men’s player in the international circuit with a world ranking of 12. This is his first time at Olympics.
24. OP Jaisha:
This track and field athlete, hailing from Kerala, she is the current national record holder in the marathon, a distinction she achieved by clocking 2:34:43 at the 2015 World Championships and she is making her first entry into Olympics.
25. Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya:
This professional field hockey player is from a poor family and he made his entry into the 2012 London Olympics already and this is his second tour to Olympics at Rio.
26. Prakash Nanjappa:
The 41 year old shooter, who competes in the 10 metre air pistol and 50 metre pistol events, was the only Indian to win a medal in the 2013 ISSF World Cup and he also won a Silver medal at the 2014 commonwealth games. He qualified for Olympics for the first time and he is making his presence at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
27. Aditi Ashok:
Aditi is a professional golfer and she made history by being the youngest and first Indian to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School. This win also made her the youngest winner of a Q School for an international tour. This is her first presence at Olympics.
28. Krishnan Ganapathi:
The 27 year old Krishnan is making his first Olympic presence in the Men’s 20km walk.
29. Mohan Kumar Raja:
Being born in a poor family and having failed Class I twice, Mohan Kumar Raja is a runner who made it to the 2016 Olympics and is looking to make his mark in Rio.