Olympics 2012: India's Diminishing Returns
On Aug 02, 2012
|Kochi: For India, the desperate struggle to win an elusive second Olympic gold medal continues. In the medals table, topped by China followed by USA and France, India languishes at 36th thanks to Gagan’s bronze.
Last year's gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra and a gold medal prospect failed to qualify for the event, which came as a blow to the contingent in the initial stages of the games.
The archery, rowing and weightlifting teams have all bowed out from the competition. World number 1 Deepika Kumar has exited from the games, failing to even qualify for the second round. Archers Rahi and Annu Raj have also been knocked out from the tournament.
Bhupathi and Bopanna went out early while the Leander-Vishnu duo put up a spirited fight before bowing out to the French pair of Michael Llordra and Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the pre-quarters. The Frenchmen were seeded second.
Jwala Gutta and V Diju crashed out from the mixed doubles event while the women's team of Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa has also been shown the door too. The ray of hope that existed when the World Badminton Federation disqualified four teams for purposefully downplaying the spirit of the game never came through, as it was made clear by the officials that the Indian duo wasn't eligible to move on to the next level in the competition.
|Hockey team suffered a set back going down 2–3 against the Netherlands,
before getting convincingly walloped by New Zealand 1 – 3. Hopes of
getting through to the next stage are remote.
However, hopes do remain alive in badminton as P Kashyap has advanced to the quarter finals in the men's singles, with a hard fought victory (21 – 14, 15 – 21, 21 - 9) over Sri Lanka's Niluka Karunaratne. Kashyap is the first Indian male player to reach the quarterfinal stage in shuttle at the Olympics. Kashyap now faces top seed and Beijing Games silver medalist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
India's biggest medal hope, Saina Nehwal is at the top of her confidence after a dominating victory over Yao Jie of the Netherlands 21 – 14, 21 – 16, to advance to the quarter finals in women's singles. Saina was beaten at the quarter-finals in Beijing.
India's Olympic medal dreams are fast diminishing at the 2012 London games, with Saina Nehwal left as the sole hope for an Olympic medal. Add to this a fighting Kashyap, some valiant shooters, a couple of wrestlers and pugilists, and of course the pair of Paes and Sania in the mixed doubles are the few events that would keep this 1.2 billion metal-hungry people hopeful.