By Asif Kalam
If you missed out on all the exciting news from Rio this weekend, then we’ve got some handy snippets from the nail-biting action over the last few days. Some heartache, some disappointment, and plenty to look forward to!
The archery team’s medal quest ended a little past midnight on Sunday after they lost to Russia in a thrilling quarter-final that went right to the death. Veteran Bombayla Devi Laishram delivered consistently throughout the sets to lead India’s challenge, but star Deepika Kumari was flaky. The match was decided in a shootoff after both teams were tied at two sets apiece. In the shootoff, each team gets one arrow per archer and needs to complete all three shots within a minute. Deepika Kumari needed to shoot a perfect 10 with the last shot to draw even with the Russian team’s score, but could manage only an 8 with time running out. India had beaten Colombia earlier in the evening to advance to the quarter-final. Laishram and Kumari will compete in their individual events from Wednesday evening onwards.
Dipa Karmakar created history at midnight on Sunday by qualifying for the Vault final. She is the first Indian gymnast to reach an Olympic final, and also the first Indian woman to reach an event final at Rio. Aided by her famous Produnova move, she scored 14.850 in the Vault event and finished at the 6th spot, earning a place at the final. In a country where the sport is practically non-existent, her feat has tremendous magnitude and could inspire a new generation of gymnasts.
Fans who tuned in to watch Dipa Karmakar’s historic moment were let down by STAR’s telecast. More than once the TV feed didn’t switch to Karmakar’s visuals as she was performing, later showing recorded footage of her vault instead of playing it live.
Karmakar produnova pic.twitter.com/3gtBoB2Vl5
— The All Around (@theallaround) August 7, 2016
It was a disappointing outing for the shooters as all three of them failed to make it to the finals in their events on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday evening, Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul finished at 34th and 47th respectively out of 51 competitors in the 10m Air Rifle Qualification and ended their challenge at Rio. Later on Sunday evening, Heena Sidhu failed to make it to the final in 10m Pistol, finishing 14th out of 44 competitors (only the top 8 qualify for the final). She still has a shot at ending the games on a high note, as she gears up for the 25 m pistol qualification on Tuesday evening.
Mouma Das and Manika Batra lost their Round 1 matches on Saturday and crashed out of the competition. Das, who is World No.150, was comprehensively beaten 2-11, 7-11, 7-11, 3-11 by World No. 58 Daniela Dodean Monteiro of Romania. Later in the day her fellow paddler Manika Batra offered stiff resistance to Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc of Poland, but ultimately lost 12-10, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-14.
Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare bowed out of the Doubles competition after the Chinese pair of Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang defeated them 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 in a closely-fought match which lasted 2 hours and 44 minutes. After narrowly losing the first-set in a tie-breaker, the pair fought back to win the second set. In the decisive third set that saw the game shift to both sides, the Indians came back twice to level scores at 3-3 and 5-5 after being down, but ultimately couldn’t overcome Peng and Zhang. Sania has another chance at a medal, in the mixed doubles event where she is teamed with Rohan Bopanna.
The hockey team kept hopes alive as they held off higher-ranked Japan to a 2-2 draw in a closely-contested pool match on Sunday. From being two goals down at half-time, they made a spirited comeback to level the score with goals from Rani Rampal and Lilima Minz. Goalkeeper Savita Punia made a couple of brilliant saves thereafter to save the day for India. They will play Britain in their next match on Tuesday.