Day 10 of the Rio Olympics 2016 was similar to the week gone by, with several ousters and few silver linings. While India’s boxing campaign ended and wrestling began on a disappointing note, the bright spot was shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth advancing to the quarterfinals.
Here’s how all the Indians in action fared on day 10.
India’s two standing badminton players, Srikanth and Sindhu kept the country’s slim medal hopes alive with wins in the quarterfinals. However, both their next matches will be against higher ranked Chinese players, and will be their toughest draws of the campaign so far.
Srikanth, ranked 11th in the world, topped Group H and became the second shuttler after P Kashyap in the 2012 London Games to reach the last eight in men’s singles. Srikanth continued his commanding form to register a 21-19, 21-19 win over Denmark’s Jan Jorgensen in just 42 minutes.
In a hard fought first game, both shuttlers started on an attacking note, but it was Srikanth who managed to maintain the lead with some bodyline smashes. Jorgensen, bronze medallist in the 2014 World Championships, gave a tough fight at the end but it was the Indian lad who proved superior to clinch the first game 21-19.
In the second game, the Danish player upped the ante and played a disciplined game to maintain the lead from the start. But with some swift court movements, the Indian diminished the lead to stay at 17-17 and then took a one-point lead to make it 19-18 before wrapping up the game to advance into the quarter-finals.
Srikanth will now face the tough task of beating China’s Lin Dan, the two-time defending champion and five-time world champion.
PV Sindhu, two-time World Championship bronze-medallist, advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s singles, after notching up a dominating straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying.
Interestingly, before Monday’s match, Tzu-ying had enjoyed a 4-2 advantage in head-to-head encounters against Sindhu. But the 21-year-old was in superb form and dominated her opponent throughout.
Tzu-ying gave Sindhu a tough fight in the early stages. Even with the Indian serving for the match at 20-12, Tzu-ying managed to save three match points and pull back to 20-15. But Sindhu didn’t have to wait long to celebrate, as another unforced error by Tzu-ying handed her the game and the match.
Sindhu will face World No two Wang Yihan of China, which is expected to be a much tougher challenge.
India’s challenge in the boxing ring came to an end, with Vikas Krishan Yadav going down 0-3 to Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals of the men’s middleweight (75-kg) category.
Vikas put up a strong challenge in the opening round before crashing out 27-30, 26-30, 26-30 against the 2015 World Championship silver medallist. Both boxers were a bit cagey in the opening exchanges with the Uzbek using his height to land long range punches. The shorter Vikas was forced to keep his guard up and come in.
Seventh-seeded Vikas was simply not good enough for the world No 3, a World Championships silver-medallist and the reigning Asian champion, a title he won after beating Vikas in the final last year.
With Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) already out of contention, Vikas’ loss drew the curtains on the Indian boxing challenge at the Games. This is the second successive time that the male boxers have failed to secure a medal, given that the 2012 bronze had come through MC Mary Kom (51kg). Vijender Singh (75kg) still remains the first and only Indian male boxer to have secured an Olympic medal (a bronze at 2008 Beijing Games).
Lalita Babar, India’s first track and field athlete to qualify for an Olympic final in 32 years, finished 10th, finishing the women’s 3,000metre steeplechase round in 9 minutes, 22.74 seconds.
She had set a new national mark of 9:19.76s two days ago while qualifying for the final, but could not improve on it in a race won with a searing run to gold by Bahrain’s diminutive Kenyan-born Asian Games champion Ruth Jebet in 8:59.75s.
Despite her 10th place finish, Babar’s effort was still the best performance by an Indian in a track event after after PT Usha’s fourth-place finish in 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The 27-year-old from Maharashtra’s drought-prone Satara district, had become the second Indian woman after Usha to qualify for a final at an Olympic track event.
Meanwhile, Renjith Maheshwary finished 30th in the men’s triple jump qualification round to be out of contention. Competing in his second Olympics, Maheshwary found himself at 11th spot in the qualifiers, after an effort of 15.80 metres in his first attempt, which was way short of the qualification mark. In the second attempt, the Indian jumped 16.13m, which still was short of the qualification mark of 16.95m. Placed 23rd, he was under pressure to hit the qualification mark in the final attempt. But he could manage just 15.99 in the third and final attempt to negate any chances of qualifying for the final round.
Srabani Nanda also failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s 200 metres after finishing 55th among 72 athletes in Round 1. Srabani clocked 23.58 seconds, way below topper, Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Talou (22.31 seconds). The first 24 athletes qualified for the semi-finals.
Veteran discus thrower Seema Punia also failed to advance to finals, after finishing ninth in her qualifying round. Seema’s best throw of 57.58 metres came in her first attempt; she registered a foul in her next attempt, before finishing with 56.78m in her third and final attempt.
India’s wrestling campaign also began on a disappointing note, as Ravinder Khatri lost to Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz by technical superiority in men’s Greco-Roman 85kg first round.
The 24-year-old Indian failed to provide any resistance during a 0-9 loss to the World Championship bronze medallist. Khatri started the first round poorly and had no answers to the 26-year-old’s moves. Leading 4-0, the Hungarian took one more point to seal the first round in two minutes and 55 seconds. Lorincz then sealed his place at the 1/4 finals, effecting a huge take-down to gain four more points.