PV Sindhu’s dream to win what would have been only the second gold medal for India in Olympics history didn’t come true but she made the nation proud as she went down all guns blazing against World No 1 Carolina Marin of Spain in the women’s singles badminton final.
Sindhu, who has been simply unstoppable in the tournament so far, crumbled under the tremendous pressure created by the two-time World Champion from Spain to lose 21-19 12-21 15-21 in a high-intensity final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes.
Sindhu thus became the fourth Indian to win a silver at the Olympics after shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004, Athens) and Vijay Kumar (2012, London) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (2012, London).
The two-time World championship bronze medallist also became the fifth woman player from India to win a medal in Olympics history and the first to clinch a silver. She is also the youngest Indian to win a medal at the Olympics.
Sandeep Tomar makes early exit
Indian wrestler Sandeep Tomar lost to two-time World Champion Victor Lebedev of Russia 3-7 in the 57 kg category and got ousted from the men’s freestyle wrestling when Lebedev was beaten 1-6 in his next encounter against Sabzali Hassan Rahimi of Iran.
Had Lebedev progressed to the final, Tomar would have been given a fresh lease of life to fight for the bronze through repechage, but it was not to be and he got eliminated.
Tomar’s bout against Lebedev was largely one-sided.
The first three-minute period saw the Russian leading 3-0. Tomar was more purposeful in the second period as he pushed Lebedev out to get a point and then finally got a single ankle hold righ and moved behind his rival to reduce the margin to 3-5.
However, with time running out, Tomar had to go for the jugular but in the process had opened his defence which enabled the Russian to clinch the bout with a two-point manoeuvre to take an unassailable 7-3 lead.
Athletes don’t make the cut for finals
India’s campaign in athletics continued to remain uninspiring as race walkers — Sandeep Kumar and Khushbir Kaur — finished way below their career best timings at their respective events.
Sapana Punia, meanwhile, failed to finish her race.
Sandeep finished at a lowly 34th in the men’s 50km Race Walk event. While in women’s 20km Race Walk, Khushbir ended at 54th position, even as Sapana had a ‘DNF’ tag against her name as she failed to cross the finish line.
Among 49 racers in the men’s 50km Race Walk, Sandeep clocked 4 hours 7 minutes and 55 seconds, which was 26:57 behind the gold medallist Matej Toth of Slovakia.
Women’s 4×400 relay team did not qualify for final with a 7th place finish in heats. Their time: 3:29.53. Nirmla, Tintu Lukka, Poovamma, Anilda’s time sees them finish 13th out of 16. The men finished with a time of 3:02:24. 13th overall, same as the women.
Aditi Ashok faces uphill task
Aditi Ashok is now 31st overall after a very poor outing on Day 3, scoring 8 over par. The leader, Park Inbee, is at 11 under par.