Rio de Janeiro, Aug 16 (IANS) Shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and P.V Sindhu kept India’s medal hopes alive by entering the quarter-finals of their respective categories as boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav crashed out while the athletes continued to cut a sorry figure at the ongoing Rio Olympics here.
World No.11 Srikanth continued his rollicking form to register a 21-19, 21-19 triumph in 42 minutes over world No.5 Jan O Jorgensen in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals at the Rio Centrio on Monday.
Srikanth had to work hard to overcome Jorgensen. In a hard fought first game, both shuttlers started on an attacking note but it was Srikanth who managed to maintain the lead with some bodyline smashes.
Jorgensen, bronze medallist in the 2014 World Championships, gave a tough fight at the end but it was the Guntur lad who proved superior to clinch the first game 21-19.
In the second game, the Denmark player upped the ante and played a disciplined game to maintain the lead from the start.
But with some swift court movements, the Indian diminished the lead to stay at 17-17 and then took a one-point lead to make it 19-18 before wrapping up the game to advance into the quarter-finals.
Srikanth had entered the pre-quarterfinals after topping Group H. In quarters, he will face the tough task of beating two-time defending champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan of China.
Sindhu entered the last eight stage of the women’s singles event by defeating Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in straight games.
Sindhu dominated right from the start to defeat her highly rated opponent 21-13, 21-15 within 40 minutes in the pre-quarterfinal clash at Court 2 of the Riocentro Pavilion 4 on Monday.
Before Monday’s match, Tzu-ying enjoyed a 4-2 advantage in head to head encounters against Sindhu. But the 21-year-old from Hyderabad was in superb form and dominated her opponent throughout the match.
But Sindhu is expected to face a much tougher challenge in last eight stage as she will now face World No.2 Wang Yihan of China.
The 21-year-old from Hyderabad admitted that Wang Yihan will be a difficult opponent, but is confident of creating an upset.
“Tai Tzu-ying was giving very good flicks. She was attacking very good and even her drops were very good. But eventually it was a good win for me. I hope tomorrow is also a great one,” Sindhu said.
“But tomorrow is a tough game as I am playing World No 2. I will give my best and play my game. Strategy-wise I will discuss with my coach. I have played against her several times but there has been a long gap since then.”
Later in the day, Vikas had an opportunity to bag India’s first medal at the Rio Olympics when he faced Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals of the men’s Middleweight (75kg) category.
The Haryana boxer needed to reach the semi-finals to make sure of a bronze, but he was no match for the 20-year-old Uzbek, going down 27-30, 26-30, 26-30 against the silver medallist of the 2015 World Championships.
Vikas’ exit brought the Indian challenge to an end. Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) had earlier crashed out of their respective weight categories.
“I thought that on August 15 I would present a medal to my people in India but I could not do it,” the 24-year-old Haryana pugilist lamented after his bout.
“Our boxing federation was banned so we could not go out to other countries to train with better boxers. But I am not blaming anyone. I lost because of me. I am sorry that I could not win,” he added.
Meanwhile, it was heartbreak for the athletes who endured another dismal day at the Games.
Lalita Babbar, competing in an individual track event for the first time since P.T. Usha in 1984, finished 10th in the final of the women’s 3,000 metre steeplechase.
Lalita clocked nine minutes and 22.74 seconds — nearly three seconds behind her national record timing in the water and barrier race — at the Olympic Stadium.
The Maharashtra athlete was inside the top eight competitors midway but was not able to push as much as she would have liked to towards the closing laps.
More disappointment was in store from the track and field events as Srabani Nanda failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s 200 metres after finishing 55th among 72 athletes in Round 1.
Srabani clocked 23.58 seconds at the Olympic Stadium, way below topper Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Talou (22.31 seconds).
In men’s triple jump, Renjith Maheshwary finished a disappointing 30th to crash out of the qualification stage.
Competing in his second Olympics, Maheshwary found himself at the 11th spot in the qualifiers, after an effort of 15.80 metres in his first attempt, which was way short of the qualification mark.
In the second attempt, the Indian jumped 16.13m, which still was short of the qualification mark of 16.95m. Placed at the 23rd spot, he was under pressure to hit the qualification mark in the final attempt.
He could just manage a jump of 15.99 in the third and final attempt to negate any chances of qualifying for the final round.
Seema Punia crashed out of the women’s Discus Throw event after finishing ninth in Qualifying Round Group B.
Seema’s best throw of 57.58 metres came in her first attempt. She registered a foul in her next attempt before finishing with 56.78m in her third and final attempt.
To add salt to the wounds, wrestler Ravinder Khatri lost to Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz by technical superiority in the men’s Greco-Roman 85kg 1/8 finals.
The 24-year-old Indian failed to provide any resistance during a 0-9 loss to the World Championship bronze medallist at the Carioca Arena 2 – WR Mat B.
Khatri started the first round poorly as he had no answers to the 26-year-old’s moves. Leading 4-0, the Hungarian took one more point to seal the first round in two minutes and 55 seconds.
Lorincz then sealed his place at the 1/4 finals, effecting a huge take-down to gain four more points.