It was a tale of missed opportunities for India at the Olympic Games here as star marksman Abhinav Bindra narrowly missed a medal and the men’s hockey team slumped to a 1-2 defeat to Germany by conceding a goal with three seconds left in the match on the third day of competitions.
There were setbacks in other events too as the trap shooting duo of Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Kynan Chenai could not improve on their opening day performance and failed to qualify for the Olympics men’s trap semifinals, signing off at 16th and 19th respectively on the second and final day of qualification.
Woman archer Laxmirani Majhi also put up a below-par performance in the individual elimination round one and bowed out without a fight against Alexandra Longova of Slovakia. Majhi just could not raise her level of marksmanship and lost the contest 1-7, losing three sets and drawing another.
Bindra – Inspiring Run, Agonising End
Bindra the only individual Olympic gold medalist in 2008 at Beijing in the same men’s 10m air rifle event, lost a tension-filled shoot-off against Ukrainian marksman S Kulish after the two were tied third at 163.8 in the race to reach the medal round.
The Indian did not show any emotion after the heart-breaking moment as he walked off after losing the one-shot elimination against Kulish who went on to win the silver medal with 204.6 behind gold medalist Niccolo Campriani (206.1) of Italy.
In fact, the Indian ace, in his fifth and last appearance in Olympics, was at one stage standing second in the eight-man final in which one shooter gets eliminated gradually leading to the final two men standing in the face-off for the gold after the 20th shot.
The Zirakpur-based shooter had finished seventh in the qualifying round to make the cut for the finals while his compatriot and London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang was way off the mark and missed out of the finals after finishing at a lowly 23rd position.
Bindra scored 625.7 to book a berth in the finals.
This is the only event Bindra is competing in the ongoing Games.
Bindra, who finished 16th in London four years ago, scored 104.3, 104.4, 105.9, 103.8, 102.1 and 105.2 in the qualifying round.
For another seasoned campaigner Narang, after picking up 73.7 points from his first seven shots, he fired a 10.8 to jump to the pole position with 105.3 points.
But he lost the plot in subsequent rounds. After scoring 105.3 in his first round, Narang’s performance went downhill as he shot 104.5, 102.1, 103.4, 101.6, 104.8 in the next five to finish with 621.7 points in the field of 50 shooters.
Heartbreak for men’s hockey team too
In men’s hockey, India’s perennial habit of conceding late goals continued to haunt them as reigning double Olympic champions Germany scored seconds from the final hooter to steal a 2-1 win in a thrilling Pool B match.
It was heart-break for the Indian fans as despite playing near perfect hockey for the major part of the match the Germans stole the win with just three seconds from full time.
“Matches abhi bhi baaki hai”August 8, 2016
After weathering India’s attacking onslaught for the majority of the game, the Germans exerted tremendous pressure on the Indian defence in the final two minutes.
The Indian defence, which had a good match and stood firm all throughout, fumbled in the final seconds as Christopher Ruhr scored the winner for Germany with a deflection from close range to dash the PR Sreejesh-led side’s hopes.
Earlier, Germany took the lead against the run of play through a field goal from Niklas Wellen (18th minute) before Rupinder Pal Singh (23rd) drew parity for India by converting his third penalty corner of the Games.
The win helped Germany keep their successful run intact against India since 1996. India last defeated Germany in Olympics way back in the Atlanta Games when they secured a 3-0 victory.
But despite the loss, the Indians can take heart from the fact that they dished out a much better display against Germany today than what they managed in the recent past, which includes a 3-3 draw against a depleted German side in the Champions Trophy in London and 0-4 thrashing in Valencia just prior to the Olympics.