<p>Aabhas Sharma on the players to look out for in 2013
He is not young and competes in a non-conventional sport, but Shiva Keshavan — India’s only luger — is certainly a name to watch out for. Keshavan won the Asian Championship this year and will compete in his fifth Winter Olympics in 2014. A medal at the Winter Olympics will cap a remarkable career for Keshavan.
P V SINDHU
If Saina Nehwal is the present of Indian badminton then P V Sindhu is the future. Ranked among the top 20 players in the world, Sindhu has been training under Pullela Gopichand since the age of 10. She hasn’t won any international event till now, but is slowly making a name for herself. 2013 could see her rise and shine.
“The next MaryKom” is what experts call Sarjubala Devi. She comes from Manipur, fights in the same category as Mary Kom and is a powerhouse in the ring. She has already won eight gold medals at the national level and four at the international level, including one at the 2011 Junior Championship. This is a name we may hear a lot in 2013.
At 20, Ayonika Paul, a shooter from Mumbai, has been hailed as one of the most promising talents in the country. At the national level, she has beaten stalwarts like Anjali Bhagwat. She also won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2011. By the 2016 Olympics, Paul will be a name to reckon with.
Smit Singh, a skeet shooter, hails from Sangrur in Punjab and was the national junior champion for three consecutive years (2009-2011). Singh has been training under his Italian coach and went to Italy to train for three weeks. The next few years could see this shooter’s star rise. He is certainly one sportsman to watch out for.
After Bhiwani, it is Manipur that is becoming the hotbed for boxers. Nanao Singh is another boxer to come out of the region. He won the gold medals at the 2008 Youth Boxing Championship and 2011 National Games. A wrist injury stopped his progress in 2010, but Singh overcame it and looks in better form than ever before.
Parupalli Kashyap won a lot of hearts at the London Olympics but had to wait till this week to win his first tier-three badminton event. Ranked 14th in the world, Kashyap won the Syed Modi Grand Prix that could be the first of many titles to come. Kashyap can break into the top 10 players in the world in the coming year.