New Delhi: As the 2012 Olympics draws to a close, we take a look at how India's athletic contingent, the largest ever sent by the country to the quadrennial Games, did in London. From Vijay Kumar and Sushil Kumar’s silver medals to the first-day exits of Abhinav Bindra and Ronjan Singh Sodhi, a recap of each discipline India participated in.
India’s women's team, comprising Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro, ranked second best in the world, lost to Denmark in a see-saw pre-quarterfinal battle on day two of the Olympics. The men’s team of Tarundeep Rai, Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar crashed out at the pre-quarterfinal a day before after losing to Japan.
In the women’s individual recurve event, Bombayla bowed out in the pre-quarterfinals losing 2-6 to Mexico's Roman Aida. This was after she won her first round encounter against Evangelia Psarra of Greece 6-4. A day later, Swuro lost to Jennifer Nichols of USA in the Round of 32. Deepika, ranked No 1 in the world, exited the Games having suffered an upset defeat against Amy Oliver of Great Britain in the opening round.
The men did no better. Talukdar suffered a humiliating defeat in the opening round and
Banerjee and Rai were eliminated in the second round of the men's recurve section.
Krishna Poonia, the Commonwealth Games gold medalist, hurled a distance of 63.62m, well below her personal best of 64.76m - also a national record – to finish seventh the finals of the women’s discus throw with a below-par performance. Seema Antil missed out on the finals of the women’s discus throw by a whisker.
India's middle-distance runner Tintu Luka produced her season best timing of 1:59.69secs in the women's 800m semifinals but that was hardly enough to earn her a place in the finals.
Mayookha Jonny and Om Prakash Singh failed to qualify for the finals of the women’s triple jump and men’s shot put, respectively. Sudha Singh failed to make the final cut in the 3000m steeplechase, finishing 13th, and Sahana Kumari failed to qualify for the women’s high jump final as she finished joint 15th.
In the men’s 20km walk, Irfan Thodi finished a commendable 10th, Gurmeet Singh came in at 33rd place and Baljiner Singh at 43rd. Basanta Bahadur Rana finished 36th in the 50km walk. Ram Singh Yadav finished 78th in the men’s marathon.
The most disappointing was Renjith Maheshwary, the national record holder and CWG bronze medalist, who failed to qualify for the men’s triple jump final. The Kerala jumper repeated what he did at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu - committing three consecutive foul jumps at the qualifying stage.
Saina Nehwal, the world No. 4, became the first Indian shuttler to win an Olympic medal. The Indian ended beat Tine Baun 21-15, 22-20 to set up a semi-final clash with her Chinese nemesis Wang Yihan, who overpowered her 21-13, 21-13. In the play-off match for bronze, Saina was trailing world No.2 Xin Wang 18-21 after the first game, when at the start of the second game her Chinese opponent retired because of a knee injury thus giving India its first ever Olympic medal in badminton.
Parupalli Kashyap became the first Indian men's player to reach the quarter-final stage of an Olympics and displayed tremendous fight. The other three shuttlers – Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and V Diju - failed to make a mark in their respective team events. The pair of Jwala and Ashwini was unlucky not to make the knockout stage by missing out on one point difference. On the other hand in the mixed doubles, the duo of Jwala and Diju also failed to qualify for the knockout stage.
Mary Kom, the five-time world champion and mother of two, was India’s biggest boxing success. She won the bronze medal in the women’s 51kg event after winning her first two bouts.
Vijender, the former middleweight (75kg) world No. 1 and 2008 Beijing Games bronze medalist, beat Danabek Suzhanov of Kazakhstan in his Round of 32 bout. In the Round of 16, he beat USA’s Terrell Gausha. He bowed out in the quarter-finals where he lost to Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan, 13-16. Devendro Singh won his light flyweight Round of 32 bout via knockout, then beat Mongolia’s Serdamba Purevdor 16-11 to reach the quarter-finals, where he lost to Ireland’s Paddy Barnes.
The youngest boxer in India's contingent, 18-year-old Shiva Thapa, lost his first match againsy Mexico's Oscar Valdez Fierro 14-9. Jai Bhagwan went past Seychelles' Andrique Allisop but lost to Kazakhstan's Gani Zhailauov 16-8 in the Round of 16.
Sumit Sangwan was narrowly defeated in his 81kg bout to Brazilian Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino, 15-14, though there was uproar in the Indian camp which felt Sangwan had played better and landed more punches on his opponent. The positive result of Vikas Krishan’s 69kg pre-quarterfinal boxing bout was overturned following a review by his American opponent, leaving Vikas shocked. The next to cry foul was Manoj Kumar (64kg) after he lost his pre-quarterfinal bout to Thomas Stalker of Great Britain 16-20.
The Indian hockey team reached another low by finishing bottom of the pile in London. There had been plenty of cheer when the team made a return to the Games after failing to qualify in 2008, but the optimism turned out to be short-lived. India lost all their matches, thus completing a poorer run than at the 1996 Atlanta Games where it came in eighth.
India’s lone judoka at the Olympics, Garima Chaudhary, inadvertently became part of a dubious Indian record when she was floored in 81 seconds. She thus became the Indian to be in action for the shortest time in the London Games.
Sawarn Singh finished 16th in the finals of the Olympic single sculls, clocking seven minutes and 29.66 seconds in his qualification Group Final C, where he finished fourth. India’s rowing team of Sandeep Kumar and Manjeet Singh finished second last in the finals of the lightweight double sculls, avoiding the wooden spoon by defeating the Egyptian team of Mohamed Nofel and Omar Emira with a timing of 7:08.39.
India's biggest moment came from from the unheralded Vijay Kumar who won silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol event. Gagan Narang shot bronze in the 10m air rifle event even though his performance left much to be desired. Joydeep Karmakar, on his Olympics debut, put in a creditable performance in the 50m rifle prone where he came agonizingly close to winning a bronze.
Abhinav Bindra, the gold medalist at the Beijing Olympics, failed to defend his 10m air rifle title as he finished 16th at the end of the qualification round. The defending champion shot a qualification score of 594 and failed to advance into the final of the event. Ronjan Singh Sodhi failed to make the finals of the men’s double trap.
Heena Sidhu and Annu Raj Singh finished 12th and 23rd in the women's 10m air rifle event and were eliminated. Shagun Chowdhary failed to qualify for the women's trap final, finishing 20th. Manavjit Singh Sandhu failed to qualify in the men's Trap and Narang and Sanjeev Rajput missed out on making the men's 50m rifle three finals.
Adaveeshaiah P Gagan Ullalmath finished last in the 1500m freestyle event.
Soumyajit Ghosh made it as far as the second round of the men’s singles round, where he was thrashed 4-1 by North Korea's Hyok Bong Kim. Ankita Das crashed out in the first round of the women’s singles, losing 4-1 to Spain’s Sara Ramirez.
Maesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna lost to Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet in the second round. Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan got the same fate, losing to the French pair of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra in the second round. Paes and Sania Mirza went as far as the second round before bombing against the Belarusian pair of Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka. There wasn't any expectation of Sania and Rashmi Chakaravarthy in the women's doubles and they furtively crashed out in the first round. Somdev Devvarman, India's only singles entry at the Games, also saw a first-round exit.
Ravi Kumar began with a below-par performance in the men’s 69kg category, lifting 303kg - 136kg in snatch and 167kg in clean and jerk - to finish sixth in the 10-lifter Group B competition. Soniya Chanu lifted a total of 171kg - 74kg in snatch and 97kg in clean and jerk finished seventh in the 12-lifter 48kg women’s weightlifting event.
Yogeshwar Dutt became the third Indian wrestler to win bronze after KD Jadhav in 1952 and Sushil Kumar in 2008, defeating Korea DPR’s Jong Myong Ri in the third round of repechage in the 60kg wrestling competition on the penultimate day of the Olympics. It was a stunning turnaround in fortunes for the Indian wrestler, who won his fifth bout of the day to give India its fifth medal.
A day later, Sushil etched his name in sporting history by becoming the first Indian to win two Olympic medals. The 29-year-old from Haryana lost to Japan's Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu 3-1 in the the final of the 66kg freestyle wrestling event to claim silver.
India’s other three wrestlers were not so successful. Amit Kumar, 18, received a bye in the first round and then beat Iran's Hassan Sabzali Rahimi 3-1 in the pre-quarterfinals. He raised hopes of a bronze medal but was defeated 0-3 to Bulgarian Radoslav Marinov Velikov in the 55kg category. Narsingh lost his first round bout in the men's 74kg event.
India’s lone female wrestler, Geeta Phogat, crashed out of the Olympics after she was beaten 3-0 by Ukraine’s Tetyana Lazareva of Ukraine in the repechage round two bout in the 55kg freestyle category.