Rio Olympics: Boxer Vikas, Sania-Bopanna bring cheer on dismal day

Rio Olympics: Boxer Vikas, Sania-Bopanna bring cheer on dismal day 

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 13 (IANS) Boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav and tennis stars Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna brought some much needed cheer as the Indian contingent continued their flop show at the ongoing 31st Olympic Games here.

Vikas defeated Onder Sipal of Turkey 3-0 to enter the quarter-finals of the men’s Middleweight (75kg) category here on Friday.

Vikas, who is just one win away from a medal, will face Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan for a berth in the last four stage.

Sania and Bopanna meanwhile, entered the semi-finals of the mixed doubles tennis event by defeating Andy Murray and Heather Watson of Britain in straight sets.

The Indians won their quarter-final match 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and seven minutes at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

The fourth seeded Indian duo dominated their British opponents with both Sania and Bopanna coming with some fine work at the net and excellent returns of serve.

Sania and Bopanna, who now need just one win to ensure a medal, are expected to face a tough challenge in their next match as they will take on the US team of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram for a place in the final.

Indian shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan also stayed in the hunt for a medal after he produced a creditable performance to finish 10th in the qualification round of the men’s Skeet event.

Khan had scores of 24, 25 and 23 in the three rounds to amass a total of 72 points at the Shotgun Range of the Olympic Shooting Centre here.

The 40-year-old from Bulandshar district of Uttar Pradesh has a strong chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, rower Dattu Bhokanal gave a spirited performance and qualified for Final C after finishing second in men’s singles sculls semi-final C/D 2.

The 25-year-old from the Indian Army, who had taken up the sport just four years ago, put in a time of 7:19.02 minutes — far from his best — but lead the race throughout only to lose out in the very final second.

Bhokanal, who is competing in his maiden Olympics, will now fight for a world ranking between 13 and 18.

Bhokanal, who set his Olympic best in the quarter-final with a 6:59.89 minutes, took 1:44.88 minute to cover his first 500 metres before completing the 1000m mark in 3:37.00 minutes.

He was leading till the 1500m mark, covering it in 5:30.35 minutes before the Hungarian overtook him with only a handful of meters left in the race.

But the rest of the day was mostly disappointing for Indian fans with shuttlers Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa crashing out of the preliminary stages of the women’s doubles event while archer Atanu Das went down fighting.

Shooters Gagan Narang and Gurpreet Singh and shot putter Vikas Gowda also added to India’s woes.

Athletes Manpreet Kaur and Jinson Johnson also added to the disappointment after failing in their respective disciplines as shooter Chain Singh finished a disappointing 36th to negate his chances for 50 metre Rifle Prone finals.

India endured a poor start to the day as Atanu crashed out of the men’s Individual 1/8 Eliminations to end the country’s campaign in the archery events.

The 24-year-old from Bengal fought valiantly, but ultimately went down 4-6 (28-30, 30-28, 27-27, 27-28, 28-28) to South Korea’s Seungyun Lee.

It was a neck-and-neck contest at the Sambodromo that began brightly for Atanu, who scored a perfect 10 in the first set, before being overpowered by Lee who hit three consecutive perfect 10s in the first set to take a two-point lead.

Atanu responded strongly with three straight 10s of his own to take the second set 30-28 and square the contest at 2-2 before squaring off the third set.

Atanu flinched just once, in the fourth set, to go down 27-28. That single point proved to be fatal as both archers hit one 10-pointer in the fifth and final set to square it 28-28, allowing Lee to claim the match by the narrowest of margins.

India then received another jolt as medal hope shooter Gagan Narang along with Chain Singh failed to reach the finals of the men’s 50 metres Rifle Prone competition.

Narang, a bronze medallist in the 2012 Games in the 10 metres Air Rifle, finished 13th in the qualification with a total of 623.1 points.

The 33-year-old scored 104.7, 104.4, 104.6, 103.0, 104.0 and 102.4 in the six series.

Chain finished 36th with a total of 619.6 points. Chain posted scores of 104.1, 101.0, 104.4, 102.4, 103.9, 103.8 over six series.

Gurpreet also put up a disappointing performance as he finished 10th in the men’s 25 metre rapid fire pistol qualification event. Gurpreet scored 289 points in the qualification round.

As the action shifted to the badminton court, the women’s doubles combo of Jwala and Ashwini once again failed in their second Group A match to bow out of the Games.

The Indian duo suffered a 16-21, 21-16, 17-21 defeat against the Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek in a contest that lasted more than one hour at the Riocentro arena.

The men’s badminton doubles duo of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy also crashed out of the Rio Olympics after going down in straight games 13-21, 15-21 to China’s Chai Biao and Hong Wei.

The World No. 21 Indian pair never really looked in the hunt as they lost the first game in just 15 minutes before going down in 17 minutes in the second to the No. 5 Chinese do uat the fourth pavilion in Court No. 2.

The mood was further dampened after athlete Manpreet Kaur failed to get past the women’s Shot Put qualifying round.

The qualifying mark for the 18 shot putters in Group B was to achieve a throw of 18.40 metres or at least the 12 best performers advanced to the final round.

Manpreet scored 16.68 metres in her first attempt and improved to 17.06 metres in her second attempt. She secured only 16.76m in her third attempt to finish a disappointing 23rd at the Olympic Stadium.

Jinson Johnson’s campaign at the Rio Olympics ended after he finished fifth in the qualification round of the men’s 800 metres Heat 3 at the Olympic Stadium. The Kerala athlete clocked 1:47.27 minute to cover the distance.

More disappointment was in store for the Indian contingent as medal hope discus thrower Vikas Gowda failed to qualify in the qualifying round, securing the 28th position among 35 athletes.

The qualifying mark for the 18 shot putters in Group B was to achieve a throw of 65.50 metres or at least the 12 best performers advanced to the final round.

Gowda threw 57.59 metres and only 58.99 in his first attempt at the Olympic Stadium. The 33-year-old only managed a paltry 58.70m throw in his third attempt, which was way below the desired mark.

In the men’s 20km race walk event, Manish Singh finished 13th with a time of 1:21:21.

Later in the day, Muhammed Anas Yahiya and Ankit Sharma also crashed out of their respective events.

Anas finished sixth in his heat and 31st overall in the men’s 400m event with a timing of 45.95 seconds and could not qualify for the semi-finals while Ankit finished 12th in Group B with a distance of 7.67 metre of the men’s long jump qualifying round.

In golf, India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri scored even-par 71 and two-over 73 to finish tied 30th and joint 51st respectively after the second round.

The Indian men’s hockey team also continued their inconsistent performance and were held 2-2 by lower-ranked Canada in their final game in Pool B.

Already assured of a place in the quarter-finals, world No.5 India played an attacking game but had to wait for 33 minutes to break the deadlock. Akashdeep Singh made it 1-0 for India after scoring on a penalty corner rebound.

But world No.15 Canada took few second to make it 1-1 with a successful penalty corner conversion from captain Scott Tupper.

Ramandeep Singh deflected a ball in near the right post from a long slap from V.R. Raghunath to make it 2-1 for India in the 41st minute.

Tupper brought Canada on level with a successful penalty corner conversion in the 52nd minute.

Later, India got plenty of opportunities but failed to scored the winner.

With this draw, India dropped to the fourth spot in the pool with seven points, while Canada ended their campaign with a point and are now out of the Games. The Netherlands and two-time defending champions Germany occupy the first two positions with 10 points each but the latter are ahead on goal difference.

India will now face a tough challenge against a strong Belgium team in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

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