Sports

Olympic medal drought disappoints but hopes alive

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on March 12, 2018

Sterling performance: Shooter Gagan Narang opened India’s account at London, with a bronze in the 10m Air Rifle event on Monday. Hopefully, this will be the first among some more.   -  PTI

Within two days of the beginning of the 30th Olympics, India is beginning to see the familiar sight of terrible losses in London. Despite the new found enthusiasm and unprecedented hype that surrounded the Indian contingent before its departure, the initial performances have brought gloom in a country that is longing for Olympic glory.

The handful of medals that self-styled astrologers predicted from the 81 sportspersons in 13 disciplines is fast turning out to be a mirage with the first shocks coming from Lord’s where the archery competition is going on.

The Indian archers, having done so well during the past two years at the global level competitions, found that the fierce competition and stifling pressure of Olympic Games were too much to conquer.

For the record, the men’s team of Jayant Talukdar, Tarundeep Rai and Rahul Banerjee belied the expectations to end 12th out of 12 teams and fell to Japan in the pre-quarterfinal round. The women’s side of Deepika Kumari, Chekrovolu Swuro and L. Bombayla Devi did marginally better finishing ninth out of 12 teams and still lost to Denmark in the round of 16.

All the six archers will be figuring in the individual competition in the next few days. Considering their state of mind after the shattering losses in team championships, it will be difficult to expect any miracle from this group. Youth and junior world champion Deepika Kumari is perhaps the lone hope, having finished eighth in the ranking round.

The exit of Vijay Kumar in the men’s 10m pistol is not surprising so is also the elimination of women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthy in tennis. Even the loss of Ankita Das in the women’s singles (table tennis) cannot be termed as ‘big’ nor Soniya Chanu’s poor finish in women’s weightlifting as ``shattering’’.

But the ouster of pugilist Shiva Thapa in the opening round of bantamweight class was unexpected though Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Kumar’s first round victory brought much cheer in the Indian camp.

There were silver-linings in dark clouds too when Parupalli Kashyap won comfortably in the first round of the men’s singles (badminton) and Soumyajit Ghosh also won his table tennis first match in the men’s singles. Both have raised visions of some good show in the days to come.

Many felt the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games was far better than the one Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle staged at the main stadium in the Olympic Park. Perhaps, the British have reserved something ‘worldly’ for the closing function.

The biggest shocker of the Games so far was the presence of a non-athlete, non-official walking along with the Indian contingent during the march past.

How she sneaked past security and even the scrutiny of the contingent’s acting chef-de-mission, Brig. P.K.M.Raja, who was just behind her, is a mystery to be solved.

>sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 30, 2012

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