It is a promising time for Indian sports, with copious amounts of young talents coming through the ranks and thriving to make a mark in their respective sports. But who is worth watching?
With that in mind, we have selected a list of 7 young male athletes that you should be watching in 2022:
Amit Khatri, Athletics
There may not be feverish excitement around racewalking, but it is one of the athletics’ toughest events.
2021 was a banner year for Amit Khatri, as he racewalked his way into the record books. As a 17-year-old, Amit became the first Indian racewalker to secure a podium finish at the World Athletics U20 Championships, clocking 43:17.94 in the Men’s 10k event.
Now with his potential personified, the world’s fastest U-20 race walker will be hoping to pump his reputation further in the forthcoming 2022 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
Parth Salunkhe, Archery
The current crop of archers in the national team set-up is brimming with a host of amazing young talents and 19-year-old Parth Salunkhe is one of many archers capable of making headlines this year with his skill and prowess, given that there are a lot of exciting events in store for the archers throughout this year.
Despite his young age, Parth is already a frequent member of the national team and there is no doubt that 2022 looks to be another important year for the youngster as he will be aiming to further solidify his name in the team.
Nishant Sindhu, Cricket
The next Yuvraj Singh?
The one thing that the Indian cricket team fell short of in the past seven years is someone capable of performing to the peak level in crucial matches on a bigger stage, 17-year-old Nishant Sindhu is one such talent among many that are certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Nishant’s all-around repertoire was on full display during the ICC U-19 World Cup – from batting to bowling and captaincy. With the bat, he scored 140 runs in five matches, including the crucial fifty he scored under pressure to help India beat England in the final. With the ball, he picked up 6 wickets; recording best figures of 4-19 against Uganda. He also displayed excellent captaincy skills in the absence of Yash Dhull to lead the team to two impressive victories – a strong testament to his ability and potential to excel in the cut-throat nature of the sport.
Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Weightlifting
When it comes to the best weightlifters in the country, it is hard to look past Jeremy Lalrinnunga, and rightly so. The 19-year-old has been an outstanding performer ever since winning India’s first gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.
The Mizoram youngster has put together with outstanding totals, lifting the heaviest weight in the men’s 67kg category, and even took a Youth World Record with 134kg in snatch and 163 in clean and jerk, combining 297 in total.
He was backed by many to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, though his chances took a hit, and now he set his sights on performing well at the forthcoming IWF Junior, Youth, and Senior World Championships followed by the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. It is safe to say that expectations are extremely high whenever Jeremy is competing, and for that reason alone, he is definitely someone you want on your weightlifting radar.
Aadil Bedi, Golf
Aadil Bedi has been an ever-present name in the national golf circuit, making headlines frequently by showcasing his caliber over the years.
The 21-year-old does not have too much-recorded game time, due to no matches played during the 2020 and 2021 seasons of the Asian Tour. Having only played one full year on the Asian Tour and also registered a win on the PGTI Tour in 2019, the youngster will be playing multiple tours such as Korn Ferry Tour with the aim to make it through the Q-School which should be a superb stage for him to showcase what he can do at the pro league in the USA.
Meiraba Luwang, Badminton
The 19-year-old shuttler might not be at the standard of Lakshya Sen and Krian George, but he has improved with every step up he has made in his career to date.
The Imphal native put an exclamation point on the end of his fantastic 2021 by winning two international men’s singles titles Lativa and Bulgaria tournament. He added another one to his already burgeoning cabinet by winning the Iran FAJR International Men’s singles title recently.
Having already reached No.2 ranking in the junior circuit, his highest ever ranking, Meiraba will be poised to maintain this type of form to bolster his stock in the coming months.
Rethin Pranav, Tennis
Another scholarship student at The Sports School, the 15-year-old tennis prodigy is fast becoming a prominent name in the national circuit, with continuous solid performances in both singles and doubles.
Hailing from Dindigul, Rethin has accumulated many titles under his belt. Aged 12, he won a gold medal at the South Asian Games ITF Qualifiers. Last year, he claimed singles and doubles titles at the 2021 SMTA AITA Super Series U-16 Tennis Tournament and also led Team India at the ITF World Juniors Championships Finals.
Rethin, who is currently ranked No.7 in the AITA U-16 boys’ category, still has plenty of opportunities to blossom into one of the top talents.
Some other players to keep an eye out for are:
Mahesh Rathore, Wrestling
Shahan Ali Mohsin, Car Racing
Akash Mishra, Football
Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, Chess
Sahil Silwal, Javelin Throw
Araijeet Singh Hundal, Hockey
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