Setbacks continued to haunt India in their quest to break open the medal chest in the Olympic Games here with shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal being the sole bright spots in yet another disappointing day.
Shiva Thapa exits Rio 2016
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. Ramirez, who won the gold at London 2012 in a lower weight category, was faster, smarter and punched harder in a one-sided encounter.
The Indian boxing challenge is now limited to Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) both of whom have advanced to the pre-quarterfinals.
Saina, Sindhu win; doubles pairs lose
London Games bronze winner Saina Nehwal and two-time World Championship bronze medallist P V Sindhu made a resounding start to their badminton campaign. Former World No. 1 Saina staved off a spirited challenge from World No. 73 Brazilian Vicente Lohaynny 21-17 21-17 in a women’s singles match which lasted 39 minutes at the Riocentro here.
The World Championship silver medallist Indian will next take on World No. 61 Maria Ulitina of Ukraine in a Group G match on August 14.
The 26-year-old from Hyderabad took 20 minutes to pocket the opening game before sealing the issue by wrapping up the second game in 19 minutes.
Sindhu, a two-time world championship bronze medal winner, opened her women’s singles campaign on a winning note in Group M with a facile straight-game win in 27 minutes over unheralded Hungarian rival Laura Sarosi, ranked a lowly 64 in the world.
The ninth seed spanked her Hungarian opponent 21-8 21-9 in a Group M match that lasted for 27 minutes and is set to play against Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Li Michelle of Canada on August 14 to complete the preliminary group engagements.
However, her compatriots Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa lost their women’s doubles league opener by losing 15-21 10-21 to the World No.1 Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto in Group A.
Men’s doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost 18-21 13-21 to World No.2 Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan to make it a poor opening day in badminton.
Deepika, Bombayla knocked out of archery event
India’s campaign in women’s archery came to an abrupt end with the elimination of Deepika Kumari and L Bombayla Devi at the pre-quarter final stage of the eliminations.
Both Deepika and Bombayla Devi bowed out after being found wanting in pressure-cooker atmosphere.
Deepika, the young exponent from Jharkhand who was in her second Games, and third-time Olympian Bombayla were knocked out without putting up much of a fight in their pre-quarterfinal elimination matches.
Deepika was up against World No.2 Tan Ya-Ting of Chinese Taipei, and was blanked 6-0 — losing in straight sets — while Bombayla lost 2-6 to World No.18 Alejandra Valencia of Mexico, after winning the second set.
Hockey: India make quarters despite loss to Netherlands; women beaten again
India wasted as many as five penalty corners seconds from the final hooter to go down 1-2 against Netherlands but still sealed a quarterfinal spot at Rio Olympics hockey competition.
Netherlands scored both their goals from penalty corners through Rogier Hoffman (32nd minute) and Mink van der Weerden (54th), while India’s lone goal came from the stick of VR Raghunath (38th).
Despite the loss, India booked a quarterfinal berth after reigning Olympic champions Germany drew 4-4 with Argentina in another Pool B match.
However, the women went down 0-3 against USA.
Sania-Bopanna start off with win
The Indian pair won comfortably against Sam Stosur and Jonathan Peers 7-5, 6-4. The 4th seeds looked in good touch – more of the same please!
Golf – mixed start for Lahiri and Chawrasia
India’s Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia had a topsy-turvy start to their campaign at the Rio Olympics as they carded a three-over 74 and even-par 71 respectively in the opening round of the golf competition.
Asian Tour No. 1 Lahiri and India Open champion Chawrasia were tied 49th and tied 27th respectively on day one as golf returned to the Olympics after 112 years.
Lahiri dropped five bogeys against a couple of birdies, while Chawrasia’s four birdies were erased by his four bogeys as the duo found it difficult to tame the Olympic golf course here.
At the top, Australia’s Marcus Fraser fired a sizzling eight-under 63 to lead the clubhouse, followed by Canada’s Graham Delaet (66) and Thomas Pieters (67)
Feature image source: PTI