Vikas Gowda leads shockingly dismal showing by Indian athletes


The shocking performance of Indian on the opening day of the Olympic track and field events have left their supporters, officials and fans shell-shocked.

It is not as all these athletes were expected to put up a medal winning performance but that most of them even failed to match up to their own qualifying record leave alone improving on them has stunned every Indian here.

Manish Singh Rawat and Dutee Chand were an exception in this dismal scenario. Rawat finished a creditable 13th in the men’s 20km walk with a timing of 1: 21.21, ahead of Olympic record holder Ding Chen, while Dutee finished seventh in her heat and 50th overall in the women’s 100m qualifying event.

Dutee timed 11.69s to finish her heat, However, her timing wasn’t enough to make her reach the next round.

Rawat, the 25-year-old from Uttarakhand, started well and was at 10th spot after the 6-km mark, but eventually finished the race at 13th. The other two Indians in the fray, Gurmeet Singh and Krishnan Ganapathi, were disqualified following three warnings.

Out of 74 walkers who started the race, 63 completed, with 11 being disqualified after three rule violations.

Earlier much-hyped discus thrower Vikas Gowda was a big let down as he failed to even cross the 60m barrier. His best throw was 58.99 meters achieved on his second attempt, much below his personal best.

Vikas in his fourth straight Olympic appearance managed a best throw of 58.99m to finish 28th overall out of 34 competitors. He finished 16th in a field of 18 in the Group B qualification round.

Gowda, who holds the national record of 66.28m, began with a 57.59m throw and improved by more than a metre for a 58.99m second throw before producing a 58.70m in his third and final attempt.

“My performance was not very good today. It’s frustrating. I’ve just had a lot of bad luck this year and a lot of injuries. I was not able to train until three or four weeks ago. Obviously, that was not enough time to prepare,” Gowda said and added, “I tore both quad-tendons of my knees. I had to take a break from training so did not get enough time.”

Women shot-putter Manpreet Kaur, who holds the national record of 17.96m, finished 23rd among 35 competitors with a best throw of 17.06m.

She came 13th in the Group B qualifying round.  In the men’s 800m race, Jinson Johnson failed to qualify for the semifinals after finishing fifth in his heat clocking 1:47.27 secs.

During the race, Johnson was hit on his legs by a fellow runner at the first bend and he struggled for a while before recovering and finished 25th out of 50 competitors.

Johnson,  had clocked 1:45.98, the second fastest by an Indian after the legendary Sriram Singh, during the Indian Grand Prix in Bangalore last month.

In the first round of the men’s 400m event, Md Anas timed 45.95s to finish sixth in his heat and 31st overall, The top 3 performers in each heat, followed by the next three best performers advanced to the next round.

In the long jump qualifiers, Ankit Sharma started off with two fouls. He followed it up by a score of 7.67 in his third and final attempt to finish 24th overall.

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