100 days to Paris Olympics 2024: Tracking India's top 10 medal hopes

The likes of Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu are among India's top medal prospects at the 2024 Paris Olympics. ESPN

The countdown has well and truly begun and with the 2024 Paris Olympics closing in, ESPN India will take a closer look at the top 10 Indian prospects/hopes for a medal at the Games and how they are currently faring as they prepare for the event.

In this first installment, we track how the athletes are doing 100 days out from the start of the Olympics:

Neeraj Chopra

The reigning Olympic and world champion has yet to start his season, but he will soon: at the Doha Diamond League on May 10. Challenging him this season are the usual candidates plus a 19-year-old tyro called Max Dehning, the youngest entrant into the 90m club.

Chopra isn't worried though. "What I feel matters the most is what you do on that day and how much distance you can cover on that day," he says... and over the past few years no one's done that better than him.

Neeraj Chopra heads into landmark season with teen sensation Dehning as his newest rival

PV Sindhu

Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu had a horror 2023 but is showing glimpses of her old self in the first half of 2024. She has led an inexperienced India team to an unexpected Badminton Asia Team Championships triumph and reached the quarters at the French Open and Madrid Masters.

There's still a long way to go before she hits the kind of form she had in 2021 (forget 2016), but the trademark fight seems to be back, and her post-injury recovery seems to be going well.

She's opted out of the Uber Cup, but she should be back for the next big BWF event, the Thailand Open Masters, which starts on May 14.

PV Sindhu, Anmol Kharb bookend glorious triumph that heralds bright future for Indian women's badminton

Mirabai Chanu

Having struggled with major injury troubles post her remarkable World Championship silver in late 2022, Mirabai has still managed to qualify for the Olympics on the back of some resilient performances. She's nowhere near top form, though, finishing outside the medals at last year's Asian Games and finishing a disappointing 11th in the recently concluded IWF World Cup. She is now unlikely to participate in any event as she continues on the road to full recovery.

Men's hockey team

Having qualified for the Olympics as Asian Games gold medalists, the men's hockey team will be going to Paris with the hope of turning bronze into a brighter colour. To aid that cause, they have ditched the philosophy of chaos [that served them well] for one of control.

Before the Olympics, they will be in action in big games in the Pro League in late May and early June, facing off against Argentina, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain.

Path to Paris: Indian hockey picks control over chaos in bid for Olympic glory

Nikhat Zareen

After winning bronze in the 2023 Asian Games and thus booking a ticket to Paris, Nikhat Zareen has only appeared in one tournament: the Strandja Memorial in February, where she won a silver. Having gone into the tournament to "assess" herself, Nikhat will be in a confident mood. After all, the performance in Sofia shows the reigning two-time world champion in good health and form.

This was followed by a camp in Montenegro where she trained with boxers from other nations and then one in Turkey. Nikhat remains in the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) camp as she prepares for Paris.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy - Chirag Shetty

The world no.3 men's doubles pair have been in fine form in 2024. They've reached three finals and won one (the French Open) in an increasingly tough-to-crack doubles field and now they've established themselves as truly elite.

After a round-of-16 loss in the All-England Championships, Sat-Chi have taken a bit of a hiatus, but they will be back in action later this month, when they will lead India's defence of the Thomas Cup (starting April 27) and are expected to appear in the major BWF events post that.

Path to Paris: After historic 2023, 'hungry' Sat-Chi embrace pressure, master the mind games

Lovlina Borgohain

The reigning world champion had also booked her Paris berth in Hangzhou, winning silver, but she will want to put her most recent outing (also the Strandja memorial) out of memory. In Sofia, she suffered a loss by disqualification in the pre-quarters after receiving a third warning for excessive grappling. Lovlina too remains in the BFI camp as Paris prep intensifies after the Montenegro and Turkey training camps.

Note: The berths in Paris for the next three athletes have not been confirmed.

Vinesh Phogat

After a tumultuous 2023 where Vinesh Phogat put it all on the line to take on the system, she's back looking to make headlines on the mat again. India's most decorated women's wrestler is yet to confirm her place in Paris, but she will have a couple of opportunities to do so.

  • Challenging the winner of the 53kg quota, Antim Panghal, in a trial if the WFI holds one for team selection.

  • Winning a quota in the 50kg, for which has won a place on the Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers

The above-mentioned Asian Olympic qualifiers will be held on April 19.

P.S. Another big mention in this sport is Bajrang Punia. He lost out in the semifinals of the trials to go for these Asian Olympic qualifiers, and it remains to be seen if the reigning Olympic bronze medalist will be given a chance at any further trials.

Aditi Ashok

A heart-breaking fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics and a silver medal at the Hangzhou Asiad show just how much Aditi Ashok punches above her weight when representing the nation at major multi-sport events.

Currently ranked 25 on the Olympic Golf Rankings, she has not qualified for the Paris Games yet but as (easily) the highest-ranked Indian, she is almost certainly in. A win in the Spanish Women's Open in November 2023 is a recent highlight, as is finishing 21st in the World Championship held in early March this year. She finished Tied 62nd in her most recent event, the T-Mobile Match Play. She will next be in action at the Chevron Championship in Texas (starting April 18).

Sift Kaur Samra

The world record holder in the 50m rifle 3 positions (women) and reigning Asian Games gold medalist won India a quota with a fifth-placed finish in the 2023 World Championships.

In her latest major tournament, the ISSF Asian Championships in Jan 2024, she won silver in her pet event, and despite the tough domestic competition (both Anjum Moudgil and Ayushi Podder are ranked above her in the ISSF World Rankings), she looks well placed ahead of the final selections trial which will determine India's shooters in Paris.