London, Aug 7 – It was a luckless day for India at the Olympics with its two triple jumpers on show crashing out of the track and field competition here Tuesday.
Male triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary gave a poor account of himself as he failed to qualify for the finals with a ‘No Mark’ at the Olympic Stadium.
Renjith was shown the red flag in all three of his attempts as he over-stepped during take-off each time. The Indian was the only contestant in the event not to register a jump and finished last in the event.
Mayookha Johny, India’s sole woman triple jumper, too failed to qualify for the finals. She finished a dismal 22nd overall with a best effort of 13.77 metres, which she got on her first attempt.
Meanwhile, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal received a rousing reception on her arrival back home at Hyderabad airport. A large number of well-wishers, and the officials of Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh were present to welcome the player who got India’s only medal – a bronze – ever in Olympic badminton Saturday.
People beat drums and burst crackers as Saina reached Gopichand Academy, where she has trained for long.
Later, Saina said the bronze at the London Games would motivate her to achieve greater things in the future – a gold at the 2016 Rio Games, for instance.
“I dreamt of becoming an Olympic champion at the age of nine and today it is a reality. It is simply unbelievable. I am proud of myself because what I said I did. I am so happy over this,” she told reporters on her return from London.
“I am speechless. I never thought I would stand on the podium one day to get this medal. When I stood on the podium I was thinking about all the hard work I put in. The hard work of my coach and parents and the prayers of my well wishers,” she said displaying her bronze medal proudly.
Saina also became the second woman from the country to win an Olympic medal when her opponent Wang Xin of China pulled out of the bronze medal play-off due to a knee injury. The Indian had lost to world champion Wang Yihan in the semi-finals.
The 22-year-old said the feat had given her lot more inspiration to do well and become the best player in the world.
“It is just the beginning and I hope I get many more medals for the country,” said Saina while thanking her coach Pullela Gopichand and her father Harvir Singh Nehwal, who were also present at the media conference.
Saina claimed that before leaving for London she was very confident of winning a medal as she was training very hard and had won Thailand and Indonesian Open, where she beat all the top players.
“I was not coming in media and saying this. Olympics is such a big event. You need to be relaxed in the tournament and not to put extra pressure on yourself. I have seen many players doing that.”
While she was confident of a comeback in the bronze play-off, Saina disclosed that she cried for one to two hours after losing the semi-final to Wang Yihan.
“I really wanted to play final but sometimes it happens that you don’t play well. I said forget it, there is chance for a bronze tomorrow.”
To another query, Saina said she wanted to get more medals for the country.
“If I win, I will continue till whenever I want. I have played against players who are 33 and 35 years old. It depends on how you progress, how you maintain yourself. Now it is time to progress, work harder and get more medals for the country.”