Tripura’s golden girl, Dipa Karmakar is the country’s first woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. It is not an easy task to qualify for the Olympics, in fact, she had to master the most perilous vault known as the ‘Produnova’ to secure her spot. The maneuver, named after Russian gymnast Yelena Sergeyevna Produnova, consists a front handspring and two front somersaults. Described as one of the most dangerous maneuvers in woman’s gymnastics, the Produnova has a 7.0 difficulty score. This fearless and determined gymnast from Northeast India risks her life and limbs every time she attempts the manoeuvre but she is undeterred by the risks. Her story serves as an inspiration to many young girls from across the country. At Rio Olympics, she narrowly missed out on the bronze medal, finishing 4th in the finals with a score of 15.066.
Bronze medal winner at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she is an Indian freestyle wrestler. She created history by becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics. According to her father, she was motivated to take up wrestling from seeing her grandfather Badhlu Ram, who was also a wrestler. Malik had previously won a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and a bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha.
32-year-old discus thrower Vikas Gowda was born in Mysore but grew up in Maryland (USA). This talented sportsperson won a track-and-field gold medal in the Commonwealth Games and is one of the most consistent Indian athletes in recent times. Rio 2016 was his fourth Olympic appearance. He is a hardworking athlete and trains about 5-6 days a week. His training involves throwing, weightlifting, plyometrics (jump training) and cross training. Ina recent interview, he shared that whenever he trains, he tries to think of himself in a competitive atmosphere to be better prepared.
Lalita Babar is an Indian long-distance runner from Maharashtra. She started her career in athletics as a long-distance runner at a young age. She won her first gold medal at the U-20 National Championships at Pune in the year 2005. She predominantly competes in the 3000 meters steeplechase and is the current Indian national record holder and the reigning Asian Champion in the same event. Currently supported by Anglian Medal Hunt Company, she was named as the Sports Person of the Year in the India Sports Awards 2015 organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India.
An Indian badminton player from Andhra Pradesh, he trains at the Gopichand Badminton Academy, Hyderabad. He won 2014 China Open Super Series Premier, becoming the first Indian to win a Super Series Premier Men’s title. His elder brother Nanda Gopal is also a badminton player. In 2015, he became the first Indian male to win gold at the 2015 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold by defeating Viktor Axelsen. At the 2016 South Asian Games, he won two gold medals, in men’s team and men’s singles. At Rio Olympics, he went on to beat World No 5 Jørgensen to reach the quarterfinals but was defeated by Lin Dan.
P V Sindhu
Badminton player Pusarla Venkata Sindhu trains at Hyderabad’s Gopichand Badminton Academy. On 10 August 2013, she became the first ever Indian women’s singles player to win a medal at the World Championships. Her father Ramanna, a former volleyball player, is an Arjuna Awardee. In 2015, she was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian honor – Padma Shri. In January 2016, Sindhu won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold women’s singles title. She won the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and became the first Indian shuttler to win a silver medal and the youngest Indian overall to make a podium finish in the Olympics.
Vikas Krishan Yadav
Hailing from Bhiwani district in Haryana, Vikas Krishnan Yadav is a talented Indian boxer. When he was only 10 years old, he had joined the Bhiwani Boxing Club. Later, he received training in the Army Sports Institute in Pune. He had won a gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games in the Lightweight category. He won a bronze medal in the Welterweight category at 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships. At 2014 Asian Games, he won the bronze Medal in the Middleweight category. He also won the silver medal in the Middleweight category at 2015 Asian Boxing Championships.
THE REFUGEE TEAM
For the first time in Olympic history, a refugee team had competed in Rio Olympics 2016. The aim was to put a focus on the steadily growing refugee crisis and also shine a light on the plight of millions of people displaced by war and conflict across the world.
Meet the Athletes!
A 25-year-old swimmer from Syria, Rami began swimming at the age of 14. He along with his family has to flee to Istanbul as the civil war had intensified in his country. He continued to train in Istanbul. Eventually, he had to leave Turkey and move to Greece before seeking asylum in Belgium.
Yiech Pur Biel
A runner from South Sudan, he had fled the civil war in Sudan on his own. He settled in a Kenyan refugee camp where he would play football. He started running only about a year ago.
Yolande Bukasa Mabika
She is a judoka from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She got separated from her parents when fighting was going on in eastern DRC. She was picked up by a helicopter and transported to the capital of Kinshasha. There, she lived in a center for displaced children and picked up judo.
James Nyang Chiengjiek
A runner from South Sudan, he fled southern Sudan when he was 13 years old to avoid being kidnapped by rebels. He settled in the Kakuma Camp, Kenya. He attended school and began running, even though he did not have access to the right kind of shoes.
A talented swimmer, she was forced to flee war-torn Dasmascus and travel through Lebanon and Turkey before trying to reach Greece. Thirty minutes after setting off from Turkey, the motor on the boat she and her sister were travelling in, began to fail. Most of those people on board could not swim. Mardini, her sister Sarah and two strong swimmers jumped into the sea and swam for three hours to stop their dinghy from capsizing, eventually reaching Lesbos. She has since settled in Berlin.
Rose Nathike Lokonyen
A runner from South Sudan, she fled southern Sudan when she was 10 years old. She has since spent 13 years at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. She began running in school. It may be surprising to know that she only began wearing running shoes a year ago.
A marathon runner from Ethiopia, Kinde is the eldest member of the refugee team. He now lives under special protection in Luxembourg. In Luxembourg, he is a taxi driver. He has won several marathon titles in the country as well as in France and Germany.
Anjelina Nadai Lohalith
A runner from South Sudan, Lohalith fled her home when she was six-years-old. She has not seen or spoken to her parents since the time she left. Finding and helping her parents is one of the biggest motivating factors in her life.
A judoka from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he fled DRC when he was only 9 years old. He got separated from his family when he was fleeing. He was rescued from a forest and taken to Kinshasha. He discovered judo while at a center for displaced children. He later fled Kinshasha and gained refugee status in Brazil.
Paulo Amotun Lokoro
A runner from South Sudan, Lokoro was a cattle herder on his family’s plains but had to flee his village due to the conflict in the region. This 24-year-old made sure that his mother reached Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp before he started running.