All eyes on shuttler Srikanth after Sindhu’s inspiring win

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 17 (PTI) Kidambi Srikanth, the centreof attention in the Rio Olympics today, can take heart fromHyderabad city mate P V Sindhu for his men’s singlesquarterfinal clash against Chinese badminton icon Lin Danhere. Sindhu’s stunning straight-game victory over formidableChinese shuttler Wang Yihan on day 11 yesterday to reach thesemis is the ideal morale boost for Srikanth as he confrontstwo-time Olympic champion Dan. With the memorable win, Sindhu became the second Indianbadminton player to reach an Olympic semifinal after SainaNehwal achieved the feat four years ago. Sindhu’s highly inspirational 22-20 21-19 victory overthe current world no 2 and silver medal winner in London fouryears ago has boosted the country’s sagging hopes of a medalfrom the Games. The 21-year-old Indian now stands just a win away fromassuring India an elusive medal at the Games here. However, the task for Srikanth against Dan is formidableas national coach P Gopichand said. "It’s going to be a tough match and he (Srikanth) willgive his best. Let’s see how it goes. All past records have nosignificance. It’s about keeping the momentum," said Gopiafter guiding Sindhu past Wang. Srikanth has beaten Dan famously once to win the ChinaOpen two years ago, but the Chinese ace has looked unstoppablein past Olympics. Indian athletes, including P T Usha’s protégé Tintu Luka(womenÂ’s 800m) and lone woman golfer Aditi Ashok are still inthe fray, but India’s receding medal chances now rest mainlyon badminton and wrestling. Tintu would be running in round one of the women’stwo-lap race today while Aditi will start her campaign in thefour-day stroke play golf competition. Also in action today are women freestyle grapplers VineshPhogat (48kg) and Sakshi Malik (58 kg). The country’s campaign in the Olympics has been beset bya series of disappointments and controversies. In fact Sindhu’s superb show against Wang in 54 minutesovershadowed wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s Olympic participation,which was put in doubt after the clean chit given to him bythe National Anti-Doping Agency in the dope scandal back homewas challenged by world body WADA in the Court of Appeal forSports. "WADA has appealed against the NADA (National Anti-DopingAgency) clearance in Court of Arbitration (CAS). Now thehearing is on and the IOA Secretary General (Rajeev Mehta) isthere with WADA officials," Indian contingent’schef-de-mission Rakesh Gupta told PTI. More PTI SSR AHAH


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