Indian shuttlers had a mixed day in office as singles players Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanthmade a resounding start to their campaign, but the women’s doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa and the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost their opening matches.
Saina will face World no 61 Maria Ulitina of Ukraine in a Group G match and ninth seed Sindhu will clash with Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Li Michelle of Canada in Group M to complete the preliminary group engagements.Earlier in the day, London Games bronze winner Saina staved off a spirited challenge from World no 73, Brazilian Vicente Lohaynny, 21-17 21-17 in a match that lasted 39 minutes; while two-time World Championship bronze medallist, Sindhu, outplayed World no 64 Laura Sarosi of Hungary 21-8 21-9 in just 27 minutes.Srikanth started his Olympic campaign in superb fashion as well, breezing past Lino Muzon of Mexico in straight games in the opening match. The only Indian to qualify in the men’s singles event, Srikanth won 21-11, 21-17 in 41 minutes. He will play his next match against Henri Hurskainen of Sweden on Sunday.Jwala and Ashwini, however, lost their women’s doubles league opener after going down 15-21 10-21 to the World no one Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto. The men’s doubles duo of Manu and Sumeeth lost 18-21 13-21 to World no two Indonesian duo Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
India’s mixed doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna started their campaign on a positive note, defeating Sam Stosur and Jonathan Peers of Australia in straight sets.The Indian pair overcame a strong challenge from their Australian opponents in the first set to carve out a 7-5,6-4 victory in one one hour and 13 minutes, to book their places in the quarter-finals.They will now take on the British combination of Andy Murray and Heather Watson for a place in the semi-finals, bringing them closer to medal contention.
The Indian men’s hockey team failed to convert as many as five penalty corners seconds from the final hooter to go down 1-2 against Netherlands, but still managed to book a quarterfinal berth.This was India’s second defeat in Pool B. Netherlands scored both their goals from penalty corners through Rogier Hoffman in the 32nd minute and Mink van der Weerden in the 54th, while India’s lone goal came from VR Raghunath in the 38th. But the match witnessed intense drama in the final seconds as India did not bow out without a fight against the world number two side.India made it to the quarterfinals, owing to the reigning Olympic champions Germany playing out a 4-4 draw with Argentina in another Pool B match. India are now on third spot in Pool B standings, with six points from four matches. Even if they lose against Canada in their last group match on Friday, India are certain to make it to the last eight stage.In women’s hockey, India’s poor run continued as they lots 0-3 to US in a Pool B encounter. Kathleen Bam struck twice for the Americans in the 14th and 42nd minute, while Melissa Gonzalez scored the third goal in the 52nd to hand the Indians their third consecutive defeat.Indian women’s team are yet to win a game in Rio. They started their campaign with a 2-2 draw against Japan, and then lost to Britain and Australia.
India’s golfers Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia scored three-over 74 and 71 respectively in the opening round.World No 69 Lahiri got off to a poor start as he bogeyed the first hole. He continued to struggle by making bogeys on the sixth, eighth, 11th and 12th holes. He somehow recovered to make two birdies on the 15th and 18th hole to bag a 74.His teammate, Chawrasia, however got off to a strong start, making birdies on the second and fifth. However, two bogeys on the seventh and 10th followed, disrupting the good work done in the beginning. He fought back to bag a birdie the 11th hole but he bogeyed the 12th and the 13th hole to be one one-over. He made a birdie on the 18th hole to get a par-71.While Chawrasia was at the tied the 27th spot at the end of the opening round, Lahiri was left languishing at the joint 50th position, with six other golfers.
India’s campaign in women’s archery came to an abrupt end with the elimination of both Deepika Kumari andBombayla Devi at the pre-quarterfinal stage. Both Deepika and Bombayla crashed out after being found wanting in a pressure-cooker atmosphere.Deepika was up against World no two, Tan Ya-Ting, of Chinese Taipei, and was blanked 0-6 (27-28, 26-29, 27-30) – losing in straight sets, while Bombayla lost 2-6 to World no 18 Alejandra Valencia of Mexico (26-28, 26-23, 27-28, 23-25), after winning the second set. Both the archers were guilty of letting their nerves get the better of them.The slender hopes in archery now rests on the less fancied Atanu Das, who is in the pre-quarters of the men’s event, and will be in action on Friday.
Young boxer Shiva Thapa (56kg) bowed out of the Olympic Games after being out-punched by fourth-seeded Cuban Robeisy Ramirez in the opening round. The 22-year-old, competing in his second Olympics, lost 0-3 in a one-sided contest, in which he also ended up sustaining a cut above his left eye.India’s Shiva Thapa looks on as Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez (L) celebrates after winning men’s bantamweight 56-kg preliminary boxing match. PTIShiva was on the backfoot from the very beginning of the contest in Pavilion 6 at the Riocentro and was well beaten on points, losing all three rounds. The first round was won by the Cuban boxer 10-9, after some heavy hitting, in an unanimous decision by all the three judges.Robeisy, the gold medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics in the flyweight category, continued his strong show to win the second round as well, getting 10 from all the three judges while Shiva got 8,9 and 9. Defeat in the first two rounds effectively ended Shiva’s chances and Robeisy completed the rout, easily winning the third round too, with a 30-26 margin.The Indian boxing challenge is now limited to Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg), both of whom have advanced to the pre-quarterfinals.