Day 11 of the Rio Olympics 2016 was one of few athletes but great hope for India, as shuttler PV Sindhu advanced to the women’s singles semifinal, and medal contention, beating London silver medallist Wang Yihan from China. Meanwhile, wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s contentious road to Rio continues as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to appeal against the clean chit given to him by NADA in a dope scandal .
Here’s a breakdown of how India fared on day 11:
Indian’s PV Sindhu caused a huge upset, stunning World No two Wang Yihan of China in straight games in the women’s singles quarterfinals.
Faced with a much higher rated opponent, the 21-year-old scripted a 22-20, 21-19 victory in 54 minutes over the former World No one, who had beaten bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal at London, on Tuesday.
The match witnessed a lot of long rallies with both players displaying plenty of skills, excellent court coverage and a superb sense of placement. Wang, a former World and Asian champion, had the stronger start, outfoxing Sindhu time and again with her clever placements which often forced the Indian to make mistakes.
The close scoreline of 2-20, 21-19 shows just how tight the competition was, with Sindhu keeping her nerve and Yihan committing several errors. The two players continued to fight it out tooth and nail, with every point being well-contested. In the end, an unforced error by Wang then handed Sindhu a well-earned victory.
After the match, Sindhu asserted that she is determined to produce a similar effort in the semi-finals and create history by becoming the first Indian shuttler — male or female — to enter the Olympic final. “Yes, this is one of the most satisfying wins that I have played. I have played Wang Yihan several times and sometimes she plays a different game. This one was one of the best, and I hope it will happen in the next game,” she said.
“In the first game, she shot very well. My win was not really luck, since she played brilliantly. I was down in that game, but then I came back. Even though she was leading, I knew the game could change any moment. After that the score was going equal and it was not easy to get a point for either of us. I think we both played really hard,” she added.
Sindhu’s coach and childhood idol Pullela Gopichand heaped praise on her.”I think Sindhu played really well and it was a very spirited performance. From the very beginning both the players really fought like hell. Sindhu had a good lead in the second game but Wang Yihan recovered very well. Yet Sindhu remained calm and became aggressive in the last few points to finish it off,” Gopichand said.
Sindhu will face World no six Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the last-four stage. Okuhara defeated compatriot Akane Yamaguchi 11-21, 21-17, 21-10 in a hard-fought all-Japan quarter-final clash which dragged on for one hour and eight minutes.
Meanwhile, wrestler Hardeep Singh was out of the men’s Greco-Roman 98 kg after losing to Turkey’s Cenk Ildem 1-2 on points.
The first period began with both the wrestlers failing to gain any advantage before the 30-year-old Turk was penalised. But Hardeep did not take the advantage leaving both scoreless. Two minutes into the first period, Hardeep was penalised for a foul and Ildem made the most of it to lead 2-0.
The second period started with a warning to Ildem, which gave the 25-year-old Indian a point. In the last 30 seconds, both wrestlers looked to overcome each other in vain, sealing the deal in favour of the Turkish grappler.
Hardeep’s elimination has brought down the curtains on India’s campaign in the Greco-Roman category after Ravinder Khatri lost to Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz by technical superiority in 85kg on Monday.
In other news, Narsingh Yadav‘s participation in the Rio Olympics was in jeopardy on Tuesday with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealing in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the clean chit given to him.
“Yes, WADA has appealed the verdict on Narsingh to CAS, which will hear both parties on Thursday August 18,” Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Indian wrestling’s governing body president, told IANS on Tuesday.
Narsingh, who bagged the quota with a bronze medal finish in last year’s World Championships, first returned positive for a banned steroid following a dope test on 25 June by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
But NADA exonerated him of all the doping charges on 1 August, after postponing the verdict twice in July, saying he “was a victim of sabotage done by a competitor”.
Narsingh is scheduled to open his Rio campaign in the 74 kilogram freestyle category on Friday, 19 August, a day after the hearing is scheduled to take place.