India in Rio Olympics : Mixture of fortunes on Day Four


India’s wait for a medal at the Rio Olympics continued on Day 4 after two of its biggest hopes Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang failed to clinch anything from the Men’s 10m air rifle event.

After the disappointing Day 3, the onus was again on the athletes to raise their game as India’s quest for the first medal continues.  It was Dattu Baban Bhokanal who was first in action from India on Day 4, hoping to reach the semi-finals and stay in medal contention. But, unfortunately, it was not the start India expected as Dattu finished 4th in the quarterfinals of men’s single sculls to move out of medal reckoning. He overall finished 15th with a timing of 6:59.89, little more than 6 seconds behind the 3rd and last qualifier from Quarterfinal 4, Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (6:53.52) from Poland. Bhokanal will now have to fight for the minor placings.

Another disappointment dawned upon the Indian fans as Heena Sidhu failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 25m Pistol Women. She exited in the qualifiers with a rank of 20 as only 8 out of 40 athletes qualified. Heena shot a total of 286 in the precision round and 290 in the rapid round which was not enough to take her through to the semis.

Then it was the time for the Men’s hockey team to take the field against Argentina against whom they last won in 2009. But, this time it was a different ball game altogether. India took the lead in the 1st quarter of the game courtesy to Chinglensana Singh’s attempt from the short corner. Kothajit made it 2-0 for India early in the 2nd half as they headed for a win. Although Argentina pulled one back in the later stages of the game, India held on and went on to win the game 2-1. By this win India was assured a place in the quarterfinals. After the dismal performance in London, this time in Rio the Indian team is looking much more confident and the hunger is there to win.

In the Men’s archery individual event, Atanu Das the lone Indian male archer was in action against Nepal’s Jitbahadur Muktan in the 1/32 elimination round. Atanu finished 5th in the qualifying round in comparison to Muktan’s 60th. Atanu did not face any difficulty in brushing off his opponent as he won 29-26, 29-24, 30-26. He then faced Cuba’s Adrian Perez in the 1/16 elimination round. Unlike the previous round, this time Atanu had to dig deep to get the better of his opponent. He won the tie 28-26, 29-26, 26-27, 27-28, 29-28. As a result of this win Atanu put himself up into the top 16 of the competition where he will next face the world number 8 Seungyun Lee from Korea. Atanu has looked pretty good so far and will be hoping to clinch a medal in his first Olympic games.

It was not a bad day for the Indians as both Atanu Das and the Indian hockey team progressed to the next round of their competitions. Heena Sidhu might not have won anything this time, but she must have learnt a lot and would be hoping for a better performance in 2020 Olympics. There will be much more at stake for India in Rio Olympics on the fifth day.

Photo by Rohit Markande