On a day when off-court developments in badminton grabbed all the headlines, India enjoyed a wonderful time on court as both their singles entrants, Parupalli Kashyap and Saina Nehwal, sailed through to the quarterfinals. As four women’s doubles pairs were disqualified for deliberately tanking matches to chart an easier path in the knock-outs, rumours of Gutta/Ponnappa returning to the draw took centre-stage on social media platforms. But the dream was shortlived as the Indian duo’s appeal was rejected.
We preview Indian participation on day five of the London games, a day which will see a few medal prospects in action. The likes of Vijender Singh, Saina Nehwal and ace-shooter Ronjan Sodhi will be plying their respective trades and another fascinating day of sports is on offer for all Indian sports buffs.
World No. 21 Parupalli Kashyap is loving every moment of his time in London so far. After annihilating Yuhan Tan, he destroyed World No. 11 Tien Minh Nguyen. Niluka Karunaratne was Kashyap’s next victim in the pre-quarters, a win which made the Hyderabadi a household name back home. As soon as fans started flocking London 2012’s official website, a startling reality came to the fore. The draw had put him at loggerheads with World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the last-8 stage. There are no two ways about the gulf in class of the two players, but on his day the Indian dynamo can upset any odds, as he did against World No. 3 Chen Long at the Indonesian Open a few months back.
Saina Nehwal, probably in the form of her life, faces her toughest opponent in the competition so far. Denmark’s Tine Baun, a two-time All-England champion, will be standing in Saina’s way as the girl from Hyderabad tries to go one-better than her quarterfinal showing in Beijing 2008. Nehwal holds a 3-3 H2H record against the Dane, but in their last meeting at the Malaysian Super Series earlier in the year, Saina emerged victiorious in three games.
Quarterfinal (Women’s Singles)
6:32 PM IST-  Saina Nehwal vs.  Tine Baun
Quarterfinal (Men’s Singles)
9:32 PM IST- P. Kashyap vs.  Lee Chong Wei
Two of five remaining Indian boxers in the men’s category will head to the Exhibition Centre to engage in their pre-quarterfinal bouts, knowing that only a couple of more fights stand between them and a sacred Olympic medal. In the men’s Lightweight 60 kg event, Jai Bhagwan will go head on with World No. 8 Gani Zhaiilauov of Kazakhstan. Bhagwan, four places below his opponent in AIBA’s rankings chart, will look to avenge his quarterfinal loss to Zhaiilauov in last year’s World Championships.
Also taking to the ring later in the day will be the man with the golden punch, Vijender Singh. The Bhiwani hero will take on American Olympic qualifiers gold-medalist Terrell Gausha in the Round of 16 of the Men’s Middleweight (75 kg) category. Vijender, a bronze-medalist four years ago in Beijing, will be facing the American for the very first time.
Round of 16 [Men’s Lightweight (60 kg)]
6:30 PM IST- Jai Bhagwan vs. Gani Zhailauov
Round of 16 [Men’s Middleweight (75 kg)]
2:15 AM (August 3) – Vijender vs. Singh Terrell Gausha
Five times Commonwealth Games gold medalist Vijay Kumar will compete in the 25 m rapid fire pistol event at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Kumar, who shot a personal best of 584 to qualify for the Olympics, will have to pull something special out his hat if he has any chance of a medal. The 18-strong qualification list boasts of the likes of Athens gold medalist Ralf Schumann and world record holders Alexei Klimov and Christian Reitz.
Away from the glitz and glam associated with India’s star athletes, Ronjan Sodhi, another fantastic medal prospect has been putting in ground-breaking efforts in the last few years. After taking over the baton from Rajyavardhan Rathore in the double trap event, Sodhi’s records and achievements have been nothing short of phenomenal. He has garnered medals like stamps, including 2 golds, 1 silver and bronze in World Cups. The Asian games gold medalist is a former world no. 1 and will be hoping to return home with glory, after having missed the flight to Beijing by the narrowest of margins four years ago.
Sodhi, however, will face stiff competition from Great Britain’s Peter Wilson, World No. 1 Joshua Richmond of the US and Russia’s Vasily Mosin.
Qualification (Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol)
3:50 PM IST- Vijay Kumar (Relay 2)
Qualification (Men’s Double Trap)
Ranjan Sodhi (Squad 3)
Round 1: 2:00 PM (A)
Round 2: 3:30 PM (B)
Round 3: 5:00 PM (C)
Final: Men’s Double Trap
7:30 PM IST
The mixed doubles pairing of Sania Mirza and Leander Paes are the last pair standing in India’s high-profile doubles contingent. The Indian duo, who won the Doha Asiad mixed doubles gold in 2006, will take on Nenad Zimonjic and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in a first round match, postponed from yesterday’s order of play due to Paes’ involvement in the men’s doubles event. Both teams are unseeded and possess doubles specialist and tour veterans in Paes and Zimonjic, respectively. Mirza/Paes will hope to keep the Indian tricolor flying at SW19, after a string of disappointing results on the hallowed greens and elsewhere.l
Court 14- First Round (Mixed Doubles)
10:30 PM IST- Mirza/Paes vs. Ivanovic/Zimonjic