Rio Olympics 2016 Day 1 India results and round-up: Sania and Paes crash out, hockey team and rower Dattu Bhokanal excel
Here's how India performed on the first day of Rio 2016.
The Rio Olympic Games of 2016 are now properly underway, with the first day of events behind viewers. India had a mixed showing at the Games today, with several teams expected to fire faltering in the end. A couple of positive, surprising performances will give India some hope from the Olympic Games at Rio, however.
Expected to do will with an array of stars representing the country in tennis, India lost both their men’s and women’s doubles first-round matches on Day 1. Leander Paes, representing the country in his seventh Olympic Games, partnered former top 10 doubles player Rohan Bopanna. Although the pair have been purported to have serious friction between them, they have represented the country at the Davis Cup together before, and this year repeated that pairing to success, beating South Korea in their men's doubles tie.
Up against the Polish pair of Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowksi, who is Paes’ doubles partner on the professional circuit, the Indians, one of the oldest teams on the circuit with a combined age of 79, were unable to coordinate as well as they would have liked, tumbling 6-4, 7-6 to be ousted from the first round.
Although the pair showed some attack in the first set, breaking their Polish rivals twice, they were broken back by Matkowski and Kubot in turn, the third time to seal the first set. The second set went by in more even fashion as the Indians appeared to even have an opportunity to seize it, but in the end were unable to go over the line.
At 43-years-old, this was likely Leander Paes’ last Olympic games, and given his illustrious history, many would likely have expected the Indian ace to progress further in the tournament.
The Indian women’s pair of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare also did not have success in their outing against China’s Zhang Shuai and Shuai Peng, going down in a three-set with Thombare putting up a fight and showing some strong hold of service to keep India in the fight. Given she is World No. 1, expectations would have been high from Sania Mirza, but Zhang and Peng eventually took a 6-7, 7-5, 5-7 win.
Tennis fans will now rely on Mirza and Bopanna to combine in the mixed doubles and pull off a victory.
India were up against Ireland in their first round men's hockey match today, and led by ace goalkeeper PR Sreejesh edged out the Ireland squad 3-2. Fifth-ranked India had recently taken on Ireland in the Six Nations Tournament, a match that India had won 2-1.
Ireland, meanwhile, had qualified for the first time in over a century and could have been braced by that fact.
The Indians played an attacking game, winning four penalty corners in the first quarter of the match. Stars of the match included VR Raghunath and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, who each scored early on to take India to a 2-0 lead going into the second half of the match.
With a fight back in the third quarter, Ireland scored a goal through John Jermyn to reduce the deficit to 1-2. But Rupinder Pal Singh scored again to give India another big lead, and Conor Harte’s goal in the final quarter turned out to be just a consolation.
The Group B placed India have a tough draw ahead; they will be up against Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and Argentina.
India’s next match, played on August 8th, will be against Germany.
Arguably India’s best medal prospect, former World No. 1 Jitu Rai also faltered yesterday, finishing with a performance antithetical to what was expected of him. At the men’s 10m air pistol event, Rai finished eighth – in last place, managing to score 78.7 points from his first 8 shots.
As a result, he was the first shooter to be eliminated from the event.
Indian fans will have been disappointed by the fact that Rai was one of India’s strongest medal hopes at Rio 2016.
Medal hopes Ayonika Paul and Apurvi Chandela also crashed out, with Chandela finishing in 34th and Paul in 43rd.
India’s Deepika Kumari had been feted for a good performance at the Olympics, but was unable to fire today, despite a strong start to her outing. Participating in both the individual and team recurve events, Kumari outperformed Lakshmirani Manjhi and Bombayla Devi, but India were unable to build up medal hopes at the women’s archery, unable to put in a strong showing in the ranking event.
Deepika showed promise early on in the event, going into the top 5 – but dropped quickly with performances from other teams succeeding her.
This does not signal the end of India’s archery hopes. The ranking event, which was played yesterday, is used to determine seedings – with the first four teams receiving a bye to the Quarter-Finals. India, which finished 7th , will have to face the 10th-ranked Colombia for a quarter-final spot now.
24-year-old Atanu Das was the star of the show for country and sport yesterday, pulling back for a 5th place finish in the men’s recurve individual event to progress to the round of 64.
Putting in a strong start, Atanu quickly shot to third in the standings following the first round. Although he dropped outside the top 15 for two rounds, the 24-year-old put in progressively strong, and improved performances to move quickly up the final standings.
He would go on to finish at a strong 5th in the standings, and will now take on Nepal’s Muktan Jitbahadur in the Round of 64.
India’s Dattu Bhokanal qualified for the quarter-finals in the men’s singles sculls event yesterday, finishing in third behind Cuba's Angel Fournier Rodriguez and Mexico's Juan Carlos Cabrera.
The confident rower took an early lead, eventually finishing in strong fashion to progress through the tournament.
India’s bevy of table-tennis players – Achantha Sharath Kamal, Monika Batra, Mouma Das and Soumyajit Ghosh – all saw their Olympic campaigns ended on Day 1 at the Rio Olympics 2016.
This year had marked the first time four Indians had qualified in the table tennis Olympic event.
Sharath Kamal, in his third Olympic outing, was up against Adrian Crisan of Romania, and the 73rd ranked Indian would have fancied his chances against the 90th ranked Romanian, but Crisan was successful in challenging the Indian.
Sharath Kamal lost 1-4 (8-11, 12-14, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11).
Mouma Das, who is ranked 150th in the world, was playing her first Olympics since Athens 2004, and the experienced paddler was expected to progress further, but lost to 50th ranked Daniela Monteiro, 2-11, 7-11, 7-11, 3-11.
Soumyajit Ghosh Ghosh, playing in his second consecutive Games, lost 1-4 (8-11, 6-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-13) to Thai paddler Tanviriyavechakul Padasak.
Meanwhile Batra, making her Olympic debut, lost 12-10, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-14 to Katarzyna Franc-Grzybowska of Poland.
Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was unable to fire in her category – the women’s 48kg today. Chanu lifted 82kg in the snatch events, but could not complete any of her lifts in the clean and jerk event.
Chanu had been in form in recent times, having qualified for Rio 2016 on the basis of Olympic trials in Patiala. One of India’s medal hopes at the tournament, Chanu managed the 82kg on her second attempt, and could not go further than that weight in the snatch.
The 21-year-old was not able to complete her lifts after putting herself at sixth in the standings in the clean and jerk, and it was Sopita Tanasan of Thailand who took eventual gold at the event.