Setbacks continued to haunt India in their quest to win a medal in the Rio Olympic Games, with shuttler PV Sindhu being the sole bright spot in yet another disappointing day on Thursday (August 11).
Sindhu, a two-time world championship bronze medal winner, opened her women’s singles campaign on a winning note in Group M with a straight-game win in 27 minutes over her Hungarian rival Laura Sarosi. After beating Sarosi 21-8 21-9, Sindhu is set to play against Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Li Michelle of Canada on Sunday (August 14) to complete the preliminary group.
However, her compatriots Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa lost their women’s doubles league opener 15-21, 10-21 to the World No 1 Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto in Group A.
The men’s doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy also 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.
There were more setbacks on day six of competitions in archery, boxing and men’s hockey to dampen Indian spirits.
Young boxer Shiva Thapa (56kg) bowed out of his second Olympic Games after being out-punched by fourth-seeded Cuban Robeisy Ramirez in the opening round on Thursday.
The Indian boxing challenge is now limited to Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) both of whom have advanced to the pre-quarterfinals.
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, while the men’s hockey team missed several chances before losing to the Netherlands 1-2 in Group B.
The slender hopes in archery now rests on the little-fancied Atanu Das who is in the pre-quarters of the men’s event and will be in action on Friday.
In men’s hockey, India wasted as many as five penalty corners seconds from the final hooter to go down 1-2 against reigning silver medallist Netherlands and slump to their
second defeat in the pool.
A draw against Netherlands on Thursday would have sealed India’s place in the quarterfinals. But they now will have to wait for the result of their last pool encounter against Canada on Friday.
India are now placed third in Pool B with six points behind leaders Netherlands (10) and Germany (9). Argentina are fourth with four points.