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Faith and Hope

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With the Olympics less than a week away, five experts give their predictions on how many India will win

AYAZ MEMON
Sports Journalist

How many medals do you think at the London Olympics?
Definitely more than Beijing. So I will go with five

Who are the medal favourites?
The shooters have a good chance with Ronjan Sodhi and Gagan Narang. Mary Kom is another one. Archery team has been in good form, so they too might have a chance.

What are their strengths and weaknesses?
I think nerves will come into play and lack of experience at the Olympics will be a dampener. But there are others like Saina who are unfazed by such expectations. Even Mary Kom has numerous world championships to her name, so they have the right mentality to cope with the pressure . It is the first Olympics where our athletes won’t suffer from an inferiority complex and will hopefully live up the expectations.

HARSHA BHOGLE
Sports commentator

How many medals do you think India will win at the London Olympics?
There’s an optimistic wave going all over the country but I think we will do well to match our Beijing tally.

Who are the medal favourites?
Saina Nehwal, Vijender, Sushil Kumar, Abhinav Bindra, M C Mary Kom

What are their strengths and weaknesses?
The competition perhaps is better prepared than them. This is no slight on Vijender or Mary Kom as they have beaten the best of the best. But at the Olympics, one extra per cent can make the difference between winning and losing. Our strength is that we have — I certainly hope that’s the case — shed the tag of mentally weak and shown that we can compete and beat the best of the world.

VIREN RASQUINHA
COO, Olympic Gold Quest

How many medals do you think India will win at the London Olympics?
I think we have a very good chance of surpassing our tally at Beijing. I wouldn't like to put a number but, yes, at least four medals I would hope we bring back home.

Who are the medal favourites?
Saina Nehwal, MC Mary Kom and Gagan Narang.

What are their strengths and weaknesses?
With Saina, her challenge will come from the Chinese but she is well-prepared and extremely focused. Mary has is in a different weight category, so that could be a problem. But she too is mentally strong to overcome such things but is capable of beating anyone. It is difficult to say about Gagan as shooting as a sport is very difficult to predict. Gagan has the ability to cope with the pressure and hopefully will deliver.

BORIA MAJUMDAR
Sports Journalist

How many medals do you think India will win at the London Olympics?
At a conservative estimate, five medals. At an ambitious estimate, 7-8.

Who are the medal favourites?
Deepika Kumari in archery, men's archery team, Ronjon Sodhi, Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra, Vijay Kumar in 25 m rapid fire pistol, Krishna Poonia (an outside chance), men's boxing, Mary Kom, Sushil Kumar, Saina Nehwal Sania Mirza/Leander Paes in mixed double

What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Most of them — if not all — have the experience of competing at the international level. Some are competing in their second Olympics like Leander (sixth), Vijender, Abhinav, Gagan. They are assured of crowd support, which should be of great help.

SHARDA UGRA
Senior Editor, ESPNcricinfo

How many medals do you think India will win at the London Olympics?
My cautious prediction is five medals and I would be delighted to be off the mark, having underestimated the winning tally by the same number!

Who are the medal favourites?
Any of the boxers (men or woman), Ranjon Sodhi, Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar, Saina Nehwal.

What are their strengths and weaknesses?
The biggest strength of Bindra or Sushil is that they have been there before. The biggest weakness of Saina would be if she gets a bad draw. The boxers have the security of numbers and Sodhi has hopes because of the fact that he is a big-event performer. The same is true for Vijender Singh. The biggest weakness of anyone who has not gone ahead at the Games is nerves.

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