London - India had a luckless day at the Olympics with the men’s hockey team continuing their pathetic show by going down to Belgium 0-3 to suffer their fifth consecutive defeat while the country’s two triple jumpers crashed out of the track and field competition here Tuesday.
Goals by veteran Jerome Dekeyser (15th), Gautier Boccard (47th) and Tom Boon (67th) set up Belgium’s second win which lifted them to third position in the group with seven points while India – having lost all their matches – finished sixth without a point and will play for 9-12 positions, their worst-ever finish in the Olympics.
India’s league campaign thus ended on a sad note as the team failed to show any improvement even against a team that was considered the weakest of the six in the group, but Belgium showed that under Aussie legend Colin Batch’s coaching, they are a side making good progress.
For the fifth time in a row, India failed to display any kind of plan or panache to give hopes of a victory as they came up against a Belgian outfit that was better organised in the defence and very fast on the break.
India did enjoy a few moments of supremacy, but yet again the forwards were abysmal at the finish while Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was simply unbeatable on the day, bringing off several great saves.
The major difference between the two teams were that Indians, as in the past, depended too much on individual skills that were plentiful but totally ineffective against the Belgians who combined better, both in the defence and attack.
In athletics, 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.
All Indian eyes will now be on Vikas Gowda, who would compete in the men’s discus throw final later in the day.
On Wednesday, M.C. Mary Kom would be the star attraction as she takes on British girl Nicola Adams in a women’s flyweight (51 kg) category boxing semi final bout. The 29-year-old Manipuri is already assured of a bronze, and a victory against the home favourite would pit her in the gold medal clash.
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.
Saina later 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 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.