SPORT-OLY-IND 2 LAST

The manner in which two-time World Championship The manner in which two-time World Championshipbronze-medallist Sindhu advanced to the last eight of women’ssingles by notching up a dominating 21-13 21-15 win in 40minutes over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying yesterday shouldserve as a good morale boost against the formidable Yihan. The head to head record is 2-4 for Sindhu with the Indianwinning their last encounter in the Denmark Open last year. Srikanth also showed his class when he upset higherranked Danish rival Jan Jorgensen to become the second manfrom India to enter the last eight in badminton afterParupalli Kashyap in the 2012 London Games. He too faces an arduous task in the quarterfinalstomorrow against two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China,who is defending the title he won in London. Greco-Roman wrestler Hardeep Singh was the other Indianin action today while the freestyle event, to start later,could see three men and as many women in fray. Among them is London Games bronze winner Yogeshwar Dutt,who will take to the mat on the last day of the Games – August21 – and Narsingh who would take part in his event on August19, provided CAS turns down WADA’s appeal a day before hisopening bout. Narsingh was reinstated by NADA after returning apositive dope test on June 25 with the authorities acceptinghis version that the food or drinks he had ingested had beenspiked with prohibited anabolic steroid — methandienone. Away from these two disciplines, track and field is theonly other arena left for India to strike it rich but thedepth and quality of the top athletes is such that they carryvery slim chances of winning a medal. Thus far, barring Lalita Babar in women’s 3000msteeplechase, it has been a dismal show by the athletes withmany of them not even approaching the mark which had earnedthem qualification for Rio. If India draw a blank in the Games it would be the firstOlympics since 1992 in Barcelona that the country has emergedwithout a single medal to its name. It has been a gradual improvement since 1996 when tennisplayer Leander Paes provided the country with its firstindividual Olympic medal after 1952 Helsinki by winning abronze in men’s singles. The bronze medal by woman weightlifter Karnam Malleswariin Sydney 2000 was followed by shooter Rajyawardhan SinghRathore’s silver winning effort in Athens 2004. These were forerunners to Abhinav Bindra becoming thefirst and only Indian individual gold medal winner in 2008Beijing where wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Singhalso won bronze medals. Three in Beijing became six in London four years later,albeit without a gold medal to boast of, as Sushil Kumar(silver), shooters Vijay Kumar (silver) and Gagan Narang andDutt (all bronze), among men, and shuttler Saina Nehwal andboxer M C Mary Kom, among women, climbed the medal podium.PTI TAP SSR AHCM

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