India’s campaign in the Olympics failed to sputter to life on day one as the mixed doubles duo of V. Diju and Jwala Gutta lost their opening group game in badminton and the men’s archery team was eliminated at the pre-quarterfinal stage here today.

The country’s bid to reap rewards on the badminton court suffered a setback when Diju and Jwala, a settled pair hunting for a medal, were beaten in straight games by Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir in their opening Group C match here.

Jwala and Diju lost 16-21, 12-21 in just 25 minutes at the Wembley Arena.

The Indians will take on the Danish combination of Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in their next match tomorrow.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.

The archery venue - the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground - failed to provide cheer for the second day running when the men’s team of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai were knocked out after losing to Japan in a tense pre-quarterfinal shoot-off.

The Indian trio, who had qualified bottom of the heap at 12th in the rankings round yesterday, were tied with their Japanese rivals at 214 after the regulation four rounds.

But the threesome of Yu Ishizu, Hideki Kikuchi and Takaharu Furukawa edged past the Indians by 29-27 in the shoot-off in which the archers shoot alternatively.

The Indians were leading by two points in regulation play before the Japanese equalised to force a tie-breaker.

The trio will now be seen in action in the individual elimination rounds that will commence on Monday.

All eyes will next be on the women’s team, led by world no. 1 Deepika Kumari, which will compete in the Eliminator tomorrow against Denmark. The women’s team was ranked ninth after preliminary round yesterday.

(This article was published on July 28, 2012)
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