Day 3 of competitions at the Tokyo Olympics was a slow and disappointing one for Indians. String of losses including that of Manika Batra, Sumit Nagal, and the women’s hockey team on Monday, July 26, have all but killed the euphoria of Mirabai Chanu’s silver.
Here is the day’s round-up of the Indian performances at the Tokyo Games.
Indian Women Lose Again
If there is hope for Indian hockey it may well come from the women's team, who despite a 2-0 loss to Germany earlier today displayed more gumption and grit than their male counterparts did yesterday. Facing the World Number 3 team, India defended hard and strong and even created two clear opportunities of their own before succumbing to a loss.
Germany scored the opener from their first PC of the game, in the 12th minute, their captain Niki Lorenz slotting the flick to goalkeeper Savita's left and opening up the lead. The Germans kept up their pressure and created enough half chances for a few more goals in the second quarter too, but lax finishing combined with gritty Indian defending kept them at bay.
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In the third quarter India came strong out of the gate, earning their first PC of the Olympics in the 2nd minute. Rani's shot at goal was blocked on the line by Lisa Altenburg — except as a referral revealed it had hit her thigh. India had a penalty stroke and a chance to put Germany under the scanner with an equaliser of their own. Up stepped Gurjit Kaur, but so too did Julia Sonntag, whose glove pad deflected the effort just enough to hit the post.
India's chance was gone and on the sidelines Sjoerd Marijne held his head in his hands. Two minutes later, Anne Schröder drove into the box and unleashed a shot into the far corner to double Germany's lead. India created a pair of chances at the end, but in the end their finishing and passing in the final third wasn't enough to earn them their first point at the Games. Next up the defending champions Great Britain on Wednesday. No better place to start getting some results.
Ashish Bows Out
Boxer Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) paid for an underwhelming start as his maiden Olympic appearance ended with an opening-round loss to China's Erbieke Touheta.
The 27-year-old former Asian silver-medallist went down 0-5 in the bout, which could have been way closer had he turned it up a little bit earlier.The boxer from Himachal Pradesh was caught on the back-foot in the opening round and lost it unanimously to the busy Chinese, who used his jab to good effect.
Ashish raised his game in the second round to give a better account of himself with more attacks but once again, the lack of clear and precise punches hurt his cause as the Chinese excelled in dodging him on most occasions.
Sumit Nagal was blown away by world No.2 Daniil Medvedev's thunderous strokes and serves in the men's singles second round.
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The Russian did not even need his 'A' game as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win in just 66 minutes against 160th ranked Nagal at court 1 of the Ariake Tennis Centre.
The gap between a world-class Medvedev and Nagal, who is still struggling to play the ATP Tour events regularly, was pretty clear.
Angad Finishes 18th, Mairaj 25th
Angad Vir Singh Bajwa finished 18th while his senior compatriot Mairaj Ahmad Khan ended 25th in the men's skeet event.
The 25-year-old Angad shot 120 across five series and Mairaj could manage only 117 at the Asaka Range. Having being placed a creditable 11th overnight and eyeing a finals berth at the end of the first three rounds, Angad missed his target thrice on the second day of qualifying to bow out of contention without a fight.
His sequence of scores read 24, 25, 24, 23, 24.
Mairaj, meanwhile, could not improve on his overnight position and ended the competition with scores of 25, 24, 22, 23, 23 for a total of 117.
Sajan Fails to Reach Semis
Swimmer Sajan Prakash failed to qualify for the men's 200m butterfly semifinals after finishing fourth in Heat 2.
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Sajan, who clocked a personal best of 1:56:38 in Italy last month to breach the A mark for Olympic qualification, could only manage 1:57.22 to finish 24th among 38 swimmers. The top-16 progressed to the semifinals.
Sajan will compete in the 100m Butterfly on Thursday.
The other Indians at the Games, Maana Patel and Srihari Nataraj, have already exited the competition.
Archers Exit in Quarters
The trio of Pravin Jadhav, Atanu Das, and Tarundeep Rai lost to South Korea in the quarterfinal of the men's archery team event at the Yumenoshima Ranking Field.
The South Korean team consisting of Kim Je Deok, Kim Woojin, and Oh Jinhyek defeated the Indian team 6-0 to reach the semis.
The Koreans put immense pressure on India from the first arrow, shooting 10-10-9 for a 29 and India responded with 8-10-10. Korea then proceeded to shoot 10-10-10 to capture two points.
In the second set, India responded well as they started with 9-10-10 and 10-10 but an 8 from Das on the last arrow handed another two points to the Koreans. The Koreans gathered two 59s in two sets.
The Koreans kept their cool and captured the third set with ease, scoring 56. Indians were inconsistent by then, seemingly resigned to the impending defeat.
Sharath Kamal in Rd. 3, Batra Crashes Out
Manika Batra's run came to end with a 0-4 loss in the third round.
Batra, who had stunned world number 32 on Sunday, did not have the game to challenge the 10th seeded Sofia Polcanova of Australia. She lost 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 and 11-7 in straight games.
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Earlier, Achanta Sharath Kamal overcame a sluggish start to beat Portugal's Tiago Polonia in the men's singles second round but Sutirtha Mukherjee was overwhelmed by Portugal's Yu Fu.
The 39-year-old Sharath struggled in the first game but pulled himself up just in time to win 2-11, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 in 49 minutes to set up a clash with defending champion Ma Long from China. Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Long has won every singles title up for grabs in the sport, and is the reigning world champion as well.
Mukherjee was no challenge to 42-year-old Yu Fu -- the China-born bested her in straight sets in the women's singles second round. Sutirtha, who had shown remarkable grit for a come-from-behind win over Sweden's Linda Bergstrom in the previous round, looked completely off-colour to lose 3-11, 3-11, 5-11, 5-11 in a 23 minutes.
Bhavani Devi Goes Down
Fencer Bhavani Devi lost to fourth-seeded Manon Brunet 7-15 in the Table of 32 match at the Makuhari Messe Hall.
Bhavani took the attack to Brunet with some wonderful riposte and attack. However, Brunet always seemed to be a step ahead of Bhavani.
At the turn, the scores read 8-2. Bhavani showed her skills when she took a few points from 11-3, charging and poking the sword on Brunet’s neck and torso. But Brunet wasn't to be denied in the end.
Earlier, Bhavani had beaten Tunisia's Nadia Ben Azizi 15-3.
The doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty suffered a straight-games loss to the World No. 1 pair of Marcus Gideon Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia in their second Group A match.
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The Indian duo, World No. 10, could never get into a rhythm and lost 13-21, 12-21 in 32 minutes against the top-seeded team. It was their ninth defeat to the Indonesian pair in as many meetings.
Sukamuljo and Gideon are now at the top of the group, while Satwik and Chirag are in second spot. The Indians will look to beat England's Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, who had also suffered a defeat against the Indonesians.
World No. 3 Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin, the fourth team in Group A, also notched up a win against the English duo earlier in the day to stay in contention for the knockouts.
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