New Delhi: India's challenge in the archery team event came to an end at London Olympics 2012 on Day 2 when women's team of Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro was knocked out by Denmark in the pre-quarters by a close margin of 210-211 at Lord's. However, there were some positives for India in the form of rower Swarn Singh Virk, shuttler Saina Nehwal and boxer Jai Bhagwan.
Swarn was the first good news for India on Sunday, living up to his promise by winning the repechage round of the men's singles sculls to reach the quarter-finals. There was more good news from the badminton court where Saina, seeded fourth, won her opening match of the women’s singles event at London’s Wembley Arena. In men’s boxing, Bhagwan (60kg) began his Olympic journey on a positive note as he beat Andrique Allisop of Seychelles 18-8 in the first round of the lightweight category at the Excel Arena.
Swarn qualified for the quarter-final stage of the men's singles sculls in rowing, leading the five-rower race from the start with free-flowing strokes. Only South Korea's Kim gave him a scare. A few hours later, Saina, ranked No. 5 in the world, beat Switzerland’s Sabrina Jacquet 21-9, 21-4 in just over 22 minutes to lift Indian spirits. The 27-year-old Bhagwan was the third Indian boxer to have qualified for the London Olympics and his success in the highly competitive lightweight category has given Indian boxing a shot at making it to the medal rounds.
The rest of the country's Olympic contingent continued to perform disappointingly. There had been a lot of hope attached to female archers Deepika, Bombayla and Swuro, who started the 1/8 Elimination Round on a bad note and could never recover against the consistent Dane archers Louise Laursen, Maja Jager and Carina Christiansen, who kept their best for the last. What really ailed India was the indifferent form of Deepika, while Bombayla was in good touch and hit three 10s in a row.
The Indian archers managed to win the first and last sets, but the Danes held the overall lead. The Indian trio now has to look forward to the individual events starting on Monday. The men's team was beaten by Japan on Saturday.
In the men's singles table tennis event, Soumyajit Ghosh lost his second round match to DPR Korea's HB Kim in five games. The Indian paddler made a good start, winning the first game 11-9, but Kim prevented Ghosh from taking the lead as he won the next four games 11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 and the match comfortably.
There was more disappointment from the Royal Artillery Barracks as shooters Heena Sidhu and Annu Raj Singh failed to qualify for the 10m Air Pistol event. Heena finished 12th with 382 points while Annu was 23rd with 378 points.
In badminton, the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju losing their second straight match to the Danish combination of Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl on Sunday to bow out of the Olympics. Jwala and Diju lost 21-12, 21-16 at the Wembley arena in another lopsided contest. On Saturday, they had gone down in straight games to Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir in their opening group match. They have one match to go, but it is an insignificant one.
In the men's lightweight double sculls first heat, India's Sandeep Kumar and Manjeet Singh finished fourth and will be participating in the repechage on Monday.
More to follow...