Champia brings smiles, but shooters disappoint (India third lead)

August 9th, 2008 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 9 (IANS) The high-profile shooters misfired, but shuttler Saina Nehwal and the archers were on target as India had a mixed day at the 29th Olympic Games here Saturday. In archery, Mangal Singh Champia stood out by finishing second in the men’s individual ranking competition, while the women’s team entered the quarter finals on day one of the competition in the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza.

Bringing cheer to the Indian camp, pugilist Vijender Kumar moved into the second round of the men’s 75 kg middle-weight category, while rower Bajranglal Takhar reached the last eight in men’s single sculls.

Talented 18-year-old Nehwal also started off on the right note as she cantered to the second round with an emphatic 21-9 21-8 win over Russian Ella Karachkova in just 28 minutes at the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium.

Vijender Kumar, who bagged a silver at the Asian championship in Ulaanbaatar in 2007, moved into the second round with a 13-2 victory over Jack Badou of Gambia in the round of 32. The 22-year-old will now meet Chomphuhuang Angkhan of Thailand for a place in the quarter final.

The 24-year-old Champia shot 678, just one point less than the top archer Mexican Juan Rene Serrano (679) in the men’s individual ranking round at the Olympic Green Archery field here. The Jharkhand-based Champia left behind celebrated rivals like world record holder Im Dong-Hyun of Korea (670), as also defending gold medallist Marco Galiazzo of Italy.

Indian women archers finished sixth as a team Saturday with a total of 1,897 points. Despite some less than modest individual performances, they earned a bye in the round of 16 and will now meet third ranked hosts China in the last eight stage Sunday. A win will bring India close to a medal.

The best Indian archer was Laishram Bombayla Devi in the 22nd place with 637 while seasoned campaigner Dola Banerjee was 31st with 633 points, and V. Pranitha, with 627 points, 37th among the 64 archers.

The ranking round is to determine the match pairings for the round of 32 when the tournament goes into the knock-out format.

India had a luckless day at the ranges as the shooters saw their medal hopes evaporate with Samresh Jung, Anjali Bhagwat and Avneet Kaur Sidhu bowing out in the qualification round with below-par performances.

Anjali, competing in her third Olympics, ended up 29th in the women’s 10-metre air rifle event with a score of 393. Avneet Kaur Sidhu finished 10 places below her, shooting a poor 389.

“I could not control my movement in the second half and that made the difference,” Anjali later said.

Jung, who emerged the toast of the nation after bagging five gold medals in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, fared worse. He shot only 570 out of 600 and finished a lowly 42nd out of 48 competitors.

Jung came into the Games with a qualification score of 584, but Saturday he fell way short of that in his pet event, where he had finished fourth at the 2007 World Cup in Munich with 584/600.

India had a poor start in women’s judo, where Manipur’s Tombi Devi made an opening round exit in the 48-kg class. Tombi could not stand up to the skill and reflexes of Ana Hormigo of Portugal and went out virtually without a fight in two-and-a-half minutes before a sparse crowd at the USTB gymnasium.

In sailing, Nachatar Singh Johal was lying in the 14th position after the first two races.

Meanwhile, the controversy triggered by the casual attire of some women competitors at Saturday night’s spectacular opening ceremony continued to simmer, but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) sought to downplay the matter.

While Sania Mirza and Sunitha Rao wore their practice outfits, Neha Aggarwal put on a green sari, giving a shabby look to the contingent which marched past at the packed National Stadium Friday night before a gathering of world leaders.

“They (Sania and Sunitha) came back from training and they had no time to changeā€¦ It is no big deal as is being made out,” IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |