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

Neeraj Chopra. Wang Lili/Xinhua via Getty Images

The countdown for the 2024 Paris Olympics is on, and as the days tick by, 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 quadrennial showpiece event.

Earlier, we had run a countdown from the 90-day mark, now -- as we publish our Aditi Ashok Path to Paris special -- we have a look at how India's top 10 Indian prospects/hopes are faring 80 days out from the start of the Paris Olympics:

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra will begin his 2024 season this week at the Doha Diamond League on May 10. The Olympic champion Neeraj will be up against some of the biggest names of the javelin world: Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch, two-time world champion Anderson Peters and European champion Julian Weber. He'll also have competition [and company] in the form of Kishore Kumar Jena.

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

Aditi Ashok

Aditi Ashok finished T66 at the recently concluded JM Eagle LA Championship in California. She is currently ranked 26 in the Olympic Golf Rankings, is the highest-ranked Indian on the list, and has all but sealed her spot at the Paris Olympics.

Paris will give Aditi a shot at redemption, to swat away the disappointment of agonizingly missing out on a medal at Tokyo. With improved driving abilities and accuracy from the tee, Aditi is primed to shake-off the big-event nerves and thrive in Indian colours at the Olympics.

Path to Paris: Aditi Ashok has form and experience, can she shake off big-event bogey?

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy - Chirag Shetty

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had a decent run at the Thomas Cup, but could not guide India to a title defence. Satwik, making a comeback from an injury, was not operating at full capacity as the duo posted easy wins in the first two rounds but lost to the Indonesian pair of Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana in R3, before being undone by the world #1 doubles pair of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang in the quarters.

The loss notwithstanding, Satwik will look to recover completely and the duo is likely to return to action at the Thailand Open next week.

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

Nikhat Zareen

Nikhat Zareen is training in the national camp in Patiala and is most likely to compete in the Elorda Cup early next month, which could be the last event before the Paris Olympics. However, she won't compete in the 50 kg Olympic weight division but will fight in the 52kg category to avoid a strenuous weight cut.

She had recently trained in Turkey with reigning Olympic silver medalist Buse Naz Cakiroglu, who will be one of her strongest opponents at the Paris Games.

Path to Paris: Why Nikhat Zareen wants that Olympic medal - and has a good shot at it

Vinesh Phogat

Vinesh Phogat continues to perfect her craft after having won an Olympic berth at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers last month, which made her the first Indian woman wrestler ever to qualify for a third Olympics. However, her spot on the Indian team for the Olympics is not confirmed as the Wrestling Federation of India [WFI] has the power to hold a trial if they deem fit. As is the case in wrestling, the Olympic quota won belongs to the nation and not the athlete, hence the WFI could send another wrestler if she beats Vinesh in the trials [if they are held].

Vinesh bagged the Olympic quota in the 50kg category and could potentially have to go through a final round of selection trials later this month/early next month to guarantee herself a ticket to Paris.

Vinesh Phogat's Paris Olympics quota: Why it's more than just a big sporting moment

PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu was not in action over the last 10 days, but will return to the court for the Thailand Open from May 14. Sindhu had chosen to opt out of the Uber Cup in a bid to pace herself ahead of the Olympics.

A medal in Paris would be her third and would make Sindhu India's most successful Olympian of all time. She's made a promising start to the season after a fourth-month injury layoff and has shown encouraging signs as we inch closer to the Games.

Sift Kaur Samra

Sift Kaur Samra is among India's top shooting medal prospects at the Olympics, but like Vinesh, she too is not assured a spot on the Olympic team. However, she's massively improved her chances of winning that Olympic berth by winning back-to-back selection trials in Delhi.

The final two rounds of trials will be held later this month and Sift, who has the highest score from the first two rounds, already has one foot in Paris.

Men's hockey team

The Men's hockey team have been training at the SAI centre in Bengaluru under coach Craig Fulton and will be in action later this month in the Pro League.

They face some quality opposition in the likes of Argentina, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain in a couple of weeks from now.

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

Lovlina Borgohain

Lovlina Borgohain, like Nikhat, is also training in the national camp after an exposure tour to Turkey. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist has moved up a weight category to the 75kg division, where she is the world champion, and will soon hope to become an Olympic medallist as well.

Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu is training at the SAI Centre in Patiala as she continues to polish the edges before her shot at a second consecutive Olympic medal. Her last competition was the IWF World Cup, where she finished 11th and assured herself of a spot at the Paris Olympics.

The next 80 days will be crucial for Mirabai as she targets complete recovery and a potential personal best to better her chances of a medal in Paris.