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Rio 2016 | Lalita Babar creates history, while Mirza-Bopanna miss medal on Day 8

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Rio 2016 | Lalita Babar creates history, while Mirza-Bopanna miss medal on Day 8

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SportsCafe Desk


It was once again too near yet far for India after Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna wasted a good start to lose out on a sure medal today in the mixed doubles event. But, they will be back for the bronze, while 3000m athlete Lalita Babar took off 7 seconds from the national record to enter the final.


Narrow misses continued to plague the Indian shooting contingent, and we had two of those today. Gurpreet Singh missed out on qualification to the final of the 25m pistol event after finishing at the 7th place. He hit more bullseyes than everyone other than the top-two finishers, but his inconsistency put paid to his hopes. He finished with 581 points, while the 6th place was taken by Leuris Pupo with 583 points.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan also missed out on a spot in the final in the men's skeet event. Mairaj Khan finished with a score of 121 in the prelims, and that left him at the fifth spot, tied with four other shooters. In a nerve-racking shootout to decide which two will take the last two spots of the final-six. Mairaj missed his mark and finished  9th. It was a disappointing end to what was an amazing effort from Mairaj.


Indian rowerDattu Bhokanal finished first in the men’s singles sculls Final C (ranking round), and 13th overall, which determined the final ranking positions, with a timing of 6:54.96. No medals for him, but this was a journey worth remembering.


There were no unwarranted expectations attached to the Indian women's hockey team which traveled to Rio. There was just elation about making it there after 36 years. Yet, when they walked onto the pitch to face Argentina, they still had hopes of making it through, and that came to a grinding halt with a 0-5 defeat. The South American side were dominant from the start and blew away the Indian eves with a scintillating display in the second quarter, where they scored 5 goals in a period of 13 minutes. The women's Olympic stint came to a disappointing end, but as they say, it is the journey that matters more than the destination. Well played, girls!


Lalita Babar became the first Indian athlete to reach the final of an Olympic track event after PT Usha did it 32 years ago in 1984. She also created a new national record in the process of her qualification for the final of the 3000m steeplechase event with her timing of 9:19.76—almost 7 seconds faster than the previous record of 9:26.55 created by Sudha Singh three months back in Shanghai.

Lalita Babar, who finished fourth in heat 2 and seventh in the overall standings, will now compete in the final on India's Independence Day. What an achievement!

Meanwhile, Sudha Singh struggled to keep up with the race leaders in heat 3 from the start, and she was even overtaken by Ethiopian Etenesh Diro who was running with just one shoe. She finished ninth in heat 3 with a timing of 9:43.29 and failed to qualify for the next round.


Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta lost their last group match 17-21, 15-21 to Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand. They started out with some promise in the first-match loss against the World No.1 pair, but did not deliver much on it, as they ended up losing all three of their group matches to crash out of Rio.

Having already been knocked out of Rio, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy played for pride in their last group stage match today, against the Japanese duo of Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa. The Indians ended their Rio saga with some consolation, winning the match 23-21, 21-11. The first set was tightly fought for nearly 20 mins, with the Indians narrowly edging past in the end, wining the tie-breaker. The second set, however, was a breeze as the Japanese were rounded up in just 14 mins. 


India's medal hunt at Rio looked almost within reach but was pushed farther after Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna lost their semi-final match against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of the USA. The Indians won the first set 6-2, but lost the second set 2-6 and suffered a meltdown in the tie-breaker to lose it 3-10 after leading 2-1 early on. The pair will, however, be back for the bronze-medal match.


At the end of day 3, Anirban Lahiri was at 9 over par and in 57th position, while Shiv Chawrasia was at 2 under par and in 22nd position.

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