Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna entered the semifinal of the mixed doubles event to give India much-needed medal hopes while boxer Vikas Krishan entered the quarterfinal. However, archer Atanu Das lost his pre-quarter bout, while the men's hockey team drew their last group match on Day 7 of Olympics.
India’s lone remaining hope for a medal in Archery, Atanu Das, bowed out of the men’s individual Round of 16 event yesterday after losing 4-6 to World No.8 Lee Seung-yun of South Korea.
In an epic match at the Sambodromo, both archers matched each other shot for shot and found the bullseye even in the rainy conditions. In the first set, Lee Seung-yun hit three 10s to score a perfect 30, while Atanu started slowly with a 9, before hitting a 10. However, he only managed a 9 in the final shot and lost the set 28-30.
He bounced back in the second set with a 10 and repeated Lee’s feat in the opening set by scoring a perfect 30. Lee failed to match the Indian and ended two points short to give Atanu a way back into the match. Both archers continued in the same way in the third set and tied it to make it three all. But, pressure got to the Indian in the fourth set, and he failed to find a 10 when he needed it. Atanu lost the fourth set 27-28 and went into the fifth and final set needing two points to stay in the match. However, that did not happen. Atanu matched Lee shot for shot and tied it to split points, but one point was enough for the South Korean to enter the last-8.
Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia finished the second round of the men’s golf event at the 46th and 31st position in the overall standings.
Men’s 50m rifle prone
In another disappointing day in the shooting range, Gagan Narang and Chain Singh failed to qualify for the final of the men’s 50m rifle prone event. Narang, who was in the reckoning for a place in the final till the fifth series, hit a dismal 102.4 in the final series to finish 13th with a score of 623.1 (104.7, 104.4, 104.6, 103, 104, 102.4). The other Indian in the fray, Chain Singh, also finished at a disappointing 36th position with a score of 619.6 (104.1, 101, 104.4, 102.4, 103.9, 103.8).
Mairaj Ahmad Khan finished the first day of qualification in the men’s skeet event in the tenth position with a score of 72 (24,25,23), and will need a big effort on the second day to qualify for the semi-finals.
Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol
In men’s 25m rapid fire pistol, Gurpreet Singh finished the first stage of qualification in the 10th position with a score of 289 (100, 99, 90) and will look to continue his good form tomorrow in a bid to qualify for the final.
After their tame defeat against World No.1 pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa hoped for a better result against Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek of Netherlands in their must-win second group game. Although the duo showed fighting spirit to win one set, they finally surrendered the match 16-21, 21-16, 17-21 to exit the competition.
Men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy also bowed out of the event after suffering successive defeats. They lost 13-21, 15-21 to the Chinese pair of B Chai and W Hong yesterday.
Track and field action also started yesterday, but expectedly Indians failed to make a mark on the opening day. Manpreet Kaur finished 23rd in the qualification round of women’s shot put with a best throw of 17.06, while Jinson Johnson finished 5th in the 800m heats and 25th overall with a timing of 1:47.27 to miss out on the semi-finals. In men’s discus throw, Vikas Gowda finished 28th out of 35 competitors with a best throw of 58.88. In the men's 20km walk, Manish Singh finished 18th with a timing of 1:21:21.
Ankit Sharma finished 12th in his group and 24th overall in Men's Long Jump, failing to qualify for the finals with his 7.67m jump. Meanwhile Muhammed Anas Yahiya also failed to qualify for finals in Men's 400m. He finished 6th in the 7th Heat of the day and 31st overall after clocking 45.95 seconds. The biggest disappointment in Athletics however came from Dutee Chand's poor show as she finished second-last in her 100m run, with her 11.69 seconds only giving her the 50th rank and missing the qualification by a huge margin.
After missing out on the race for a medal, Dattu Bhokanal finished second in the semi-final C yesterday to progress to the final C, which will decide the ranking places of rowers from 13-18.
Indian men’s hockey team were held to a 2-2 draw by a spirited Canada side on Friday in their last group match. Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh scored the goals for India, while Scot Tupper pulled two back for Canada leaving India’s final position in Argentina’s hands as they play later today.
India were the dominant team on the field in the initial minutes, and with the Canadians failing to hold on to the ball, India had a free run in the middle. India broke the deadlock early in the second half through Akashdeep Singh. The young forward smashed one into the goal from a rebound with a reverse stick to defeat Carter at the near post. India were finally ahead, but the lead did not last long. The Canadians won their first penalty corner a minute later, and they scored from their first opportunity to beat PR Sreejesh. Skipper Scott Tupper flicked the ball to the right of Sreejesh, and the Indian goalie had no chance.
Six minutes later, Ramandeep Singh restored India’s lead after a brilliant move. Canada sat deep hoping for India to pass around, but the men in blue went for a direct approach, and VR Raghunath sent a long-range scorcher into the middle hoping for a touch from the Indian stick, and Ramandeep Singh dived to the right to deflect the ball into the back of the net.
With seven minutes to go for the end of the match, Nikkin Thimmaiah made an unnecessary challenge outside the circle to give Canada a penalty corner. As with their first opportunity, Scott Tupper once again struck from the spot. He beat Sreejesh on his right-hand side to bring the match once again back to level terms.
Vikas Krishan scored a decisive win against Onder Sipal of Turkey to enter the quarterfinal of the men's 75 kg event. With a sizeable crowd shouting "India, India", Vikas started on a high note landing quite a few punches on Sipal's face, and with 36 seconds to go, Sipal was injured above his right eye. Vikas landed a right uppercut immediately after play resumed, and in the end, scored a 10,10, and 9 while Sipal got 9, 9 and 10. Vikas was up 2-1.
Buoyed by the success of Round 1, Vikas came out all guns blazing in the second, and continued to hammer Sipal who was huddled beneath his gloves. With one minute to go, Vikas had Sipal on the ropes, but Sipal managed to get away in some time. Finally, Vikas received an unanimous decision of 10, 10, 10. Sipal got 9, 9 , 9.
In Round 3, Vikas initially went on the offensive, but changed tack and started running Sipal around. And finally, Vikas won by unanimous decision 30, 29, 29 against Sipal's 27, 28, 28, and was through to the quarters.
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna defeated their British rivals Andy Murray and Heather Watson to enter the semi-final of the mixed doubles event at Rio 2016. The Indians were broken in their very first service game but recovered to win in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to give India realistic medal hopes.
The match began with Rohan Bopanna taking India up 30-0 with a lovely volley down the middle. But, Murray soon stamped his presence on the match with two aces. Sania Mirza's netplay suddenly looked all shaky as she lost two consecutive points, and India were suddenly down a break and 0-2 in the set.
But they broke back immediately on Watson's serve, while Sania held hers to draw par at 2-2. At 3-3, they again went after Watson's serve, and India had the break they needed. After Murray and Sania held serve, Bopanna served out the set in style with two aces to win the first set 6-4.
In the second set, after all four held serves to reach 2-2, it was Andy Murray who lost his serve. At break point, Bopanna sent a great forehand down the line, and Heather Watson could not bring her racket down in time to return it, and Murray's serve had been broken!
Having had the break, the Indians held their own to go up 4-2. After Andy Murray held serve to make it 4-5, Rohan Bopanna was on serve for the match. He started with an ace, and soon took India to two match-points. But Sania bungled up both with some inexplicable movements across the court. On the third match point, a comedy of errors ensued. Bopanna wasted two clear winners, and then found Sania huddled against him as he was trying to move away from her and towards the ball. And they stumbled together towards the ball. Finally, Sania managed to disentangle herself and finally, Bopanna managed to find a winner off his smash, and India were through with a 6-4, 6-4 win to enter the semi-final of the mixed doubles event.
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