The opening day of the London Olympics 2012 was a one to forget as far as the Indian contingent at the games is concerned. Barring a couple of proud moments, it was a bad day at the office for the Indian hopefuls. Shuttler Parupalli Kashyap and paddler Soumyajit Ghosh were the lone bright sparks as they came through unscathed from their respective opening matches.
Kashyap comfortably beat Belgium’s Yuhan Tan 21/14 21/12 in his opening group match in the men’s singles event of badminton while Soumyajit battled past a higher-ranked Gustavo Tuboi in the men’s TT singles first round. Ghosh took six sets to wrap up the game which stretched to 40 minutes. He won 11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10.
Elsewhere, the men’s archery team failed to capitalize on a few golden chances as they went down to Japan in the opening round. The Indian trio of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai led the Japanese for most parts of the duel, but couldn’t hold their nerves when it mattered the most. They eventually went down in a shoot-off after the original contest ended as a tie on 214 points.
Teenage boxing sensation Shiva Thapa’s inexperience at the senior level came to the fore as he surprisingly crashed out in his first bout. Thapa, who was being hailed as the next big thing in Indian boxing, was out punched and outpaced by Mexico’s Oscar Valdez in the 56 kg Bantamweight category. After showing glimpses of a comeback in the second round, Thapa failed to keep it going in the final round as he went down 14-9 to the Mexican.
On the grasscourts of Wimbledon, Sania Mirza and partner Rushmi Chakravarthi too bowed out in the first round. The Indian duobattled hard, rallied back from a set down but in the end looked powerless to prevent the Chinese Taipei pairing of Su-Wei Hsieh/ Chia-Jung Chuang to romp home 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 .
Also to walk through the exit door was Vijay Kumar, who even failed to qualify for the 10m air pistol final. For Kumar, however, the 25 m air pistol event is topmost priority. Ankita Das too was sent packing by Spain’s Sara Ramirez in her knockout game in the women’s TT singles event. Das only managed to win a solitary game as her Olympic debut came to a premature end.
At the Wembley Arena, India’s high hopes from badminton were shattered to some extent as the mixed doubles pairing of V Diju & Jwala Gutta failed to cause an upset against Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsiras. They were comprehensively beaten by 16-21, 12-21 in just 25 minutes by the Indonesian pair. Jwala’s day went from bad to worse as she along with Ashwini Ponnappa went down in their first round robin contest. They lost to the Japanese duo of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa 16-21, 18-21. The twin defeats doesn’t mean the end of the road for the doubles teams as the new round robin format gives them two more chances to advance to the knockouts.
Over at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre, rower Swaran Singh failed to qualify through his heat in the single sculls event. Singh finished fourth with a total ti
me of 6:54.04 in the 2000m race, which was 12 seconds off the time set by the leaders. Singh, however, will have a second bite of the cherry as the rowing event has the repechage round, which gives Singh another chance to qualify for the next round.