Neeraj Chopra, Tejaswin Shankar & Co. star in most promising Tokyo Olympics prospect nominees

ESPN.in Awards: Target Tokyo (1:36)

Nominees for the athlete most likely to shine at the 2020 Olympics. (1:36)

Javelin-thrower Neeraj Chopra, high-jumper Tejaswin Shankar and wrestler Pooja Dhanda highlight our nominations for the Most Promising Tokyo Olympics prospect. Here's the full list:

Divya Kakran (Wrestling)

Why should they be followed

Although 19-year-old women's freestyle wrestler Divya Kakran can still compete as a junior, she is considered among the most promising prospects in the senior division. She impressed at the prestigious Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament, winning a bronze medal. She then upgraded that to a silver at the Asian Championships in New Delhi. Another box was ticked when she won her first gold at the senior Nationals in Indore. She followed that up with another gold at the Commonwealth Championships in the 68kg category.

In their own words

"I was expecting a bronze (at the Asian Championships) but I got silver. I think it was for the best. This time god has given me silver and said, 'I've taken you this far, now you need to take it to the next level'. Thodi lalach di hai (that medal has given me a greed for more)."

- Kakran on her hunger for bigger medals.

Neeraj Chopra (Track and Field)

Why should they be followed

Neeraj became India's first Under-20 athletics gold medallist and set a world junior record mark with an 86.48m throw just ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics. He finished fifth at the Diamond League in Paris with an effort of 84.67m and in a week's time he won gold at the Asian Championships. Placed fourth overall after the third round, he made his final throw count with a distance of 85.23m.

In their own words

"I knew I needed just one big throw."

- Neeraj after his Asian Championships gold.

Lakshya Sen (Badminton)

Why should they be followed

Touted as the next big star on the Indian badminton horizon, junior World no. 2 Lakshya Sen, who first catapulted to attention after winning the Wimbledon U-19 when he was just 13, had a fairly eventful year, winning two International series titles - in Bulgaria and India. The Prakash Padukone academy trainee followed it up with a silver medal at the Tata Open, after being stunned in three games by unseeded Thai Sitthikom Thammasin in the final.

In their own words

"When I'm at international tournaments, players of other countries know me by name. So in that way, a high ranking helps."

- Sen on how being a top-ranked player has raised his profile.

Tejaswin Shankar (Track and Field)

Why should they be followed

At just 19, jumper Shankar became just the second Indian track-and-field athlete to get a full scholarship to an American college when he joined the Kansas State University in 2017. Shankar not only holds the Indian high jump record of 2.25m, which he set in the junior National Championships in November 2016, but has also begun competing in the long jump and 400m at the NCAA meets. In 2018, he also equaled the Indian indoor high jump record of 2.18m in an NCAA event.

In their own words

"I have incredible facilities. I am training with perhaps the world's best coach, who has trained so many Olympic medallists and athletes.I have an Olympic medallist in Erik Kynard, who is both my training partner and coach. This is the ultimate place where an aspiring athlete would like to go and train. There is no reason for me to fail."

- Tejaswin on his NCAA prospects.

Pooja Dhanda (Wrestling)

Why should they be followed

At 24, Dhanda is one of the older members of this club. But that's because she only returned to competitive wrestling late in 2016 after a two-year gap owing to an ACL injury. Dhanda, who once won a silver at the 2010 Youth Olympics, is now fulfilling that early promise in the senior ranks. She claimed a gold in the women's 57kg category at the Wrestling Nationals and followed that up with gold at the Commonwealth Championships. The results mean that she has now claimed the women's 57kg freestyle category spot on the Indian roster - the category in which Sakshi Malik had won an Olympic bronze.

In their own words

"I'd like people to know that Indians can challenge and beat the best international wrestlers."

- Dhanda after her giant-killing wins in the Pro Wrestling League.