Dipa Karmakar creates history to brighten medalless day
Rio de Janeiro: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian to make the cut for the individual vault finals in her debut Olympic Games after finishing 8th in the qualifying round here.
Elsewhere, however, the story of woes continued as the country’s 100-plus contingent continued to struggle in the face of world-class competition in archery, shooting and women’s hockey.
Tripura girl Dipa, who is the country’s first woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, managed to perform her much-appreciated ‘Produnova’ vault cleanly to secure 14.850 points after two attempts.
It was a nervous wait for the Indian after that. She had ended sixth after the third of five sub-divisions.
She dropped to 8th eventually when Canadian Shallon Olsen’s terrific effort of 14.950 rejigged the overall standings.
But that was just about enough to secure her a place in the finals scheduled for August 14 as the top-8 made the cut for the medal round.
In the other routines, Dipa secured 11.666 for her effort on the uneven bars, scoring low on difficulty but decent on execution. Later, Dipa scored 12.866 for her performance on the balance beam.
The floor exercise fetched Dipa a score of 12.033, which also included a 0.300 penalty.
Dipa, the first Indian woman gymnast to win a Commonwealth Games medal, stood a poor 47th in the all-round standings with a combined score of 51.665.
The Indian women’s archery team progressed to the quarter-finals before losing to Russia in a shoot-off and made its exit while the hockey squad fought back to hold Japan to a 2-2 draw.
In the shooting range, 22-year-old Heena Sidhu misfired along with men trap shooters Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Kynan Chenai who finished 17th and 19th respectively after the first day.
The women’s archery team of Laishram Bombayla Devi, Laxmirani Majhi and Deepika Kumari made the quarters of the recurve event by edging out Colombia 5-3.
This was the first time the women archers had advanced to round two after their poor display in London four years ago when Denmark ousted them in round one. Bombayla and Deepika were part of that team.
The trio then faced 2012 Games semifinalists Russia, bounced back after losing the opening set before the two teams level-pegged to force the tie-breaker in which the Russian women showed better nerves even as the Indian trio lost the plot to lose it 23-25 and be eliminated.
The women’s hockey squad, which has qualified for the Olympics after 36 years, showed a lot of grit in the face of adversity and staged a grand rally in the second half to hold higher-ranked Japan to a 2-2 draw.
The Indians, ranked 13th in the world, were trailing by two goals at half time after World No. 10 Japan scored through Emi Nishikori (15th minute) and Mie Nakashima (28th).
But the Indians made a valiant fightback as Rani Rampal (31st) and Lilima Minz (40th) scored a goal each in the third and fourth quarters to secure a point for their side.
However, the Indian shooters’ unimpressive run continued unabated with Heena crashing out of the women’s 10m air pistol qualification round by finishing way behind the leaders in the 14th position out of 44 competitors.
The 26-year-old 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games silver medallist shot an overall 380, which included 13x.
Heena, who had finished 12th in her maiden Olympics in 2012 London Games, failed to recover from a poor start and became the fourth shooter to be eliminated in day two of the competition.
The cut for the eight finalists was applied at 384 with seven closest to the centre circle, which was shot by Sonia Franquet of Spain. Russia’s Vitalina Batsarashkina topped the qualification round with a score of 390, including 14x.
Heena will now try to make amends when she competes in the 25m pistol event, scheduled to be held on August 9.