Olympics: Shooter Vijay Kumar wins silver for India (India Roundup)

August 3rd, 2012 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 3 (IANS) Army shooter Vijay Kumar scooped up a silver after his teammate Joydip Karmakar narrowly missed a medal while ace women’s shuttler Saina Nehwal remained in contention for a bronze despite losing out to her toprated Chinese rival as India had their brightest day at the London Olympic Games here Friday.

Late Thursday night, star boxer Vijender Singh also moved into the quarterfinal of the 75 kg category and is now only a bout away from repeating his medal performance of the Beijing Games following a narrow win in the pre-quarterfinals.

In shooting, Kumar finished second in the men’s 25 metre rapid fire pistol to give the country its second medal from the Games after marksman Gagan Narang opened India’s tally Monday with a bronze in men’s 10metre air rifle competition at the Royal Artillery Barracks range.

Kumar ensured a finish on the second highest podium scoring 30 in the final after Cuba’s Leuris Pupo gave his country its first gold of the Olympics by carding 34.

Kumar’s performance more than compensated for a poor show from Narang, who failed to make it to the final after taking the 18th slot in the qualifiers of the men’s 50metre rifle prone event.

The Army Subedar thus became the second Indian after double trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to win an individual Olympic silver medal. Rathore won the maiden individual Olympic silver for India at Athens in 2004.

Kumar’s success came after Karmakar finished tantalisingly close to a medal in the men’s 50 metres rifle prone. The 32-year-old Bengal shooter missed the bronze by 1.9 points to Slovenian Rajmond Debevec before settling for fourth place with an overall score of 699.1, including 595 in the qualification and 104.1 in the medal round. His score in the final was third highest among the eight shooters.

Karmakar later said Narang and Kumar’s performance has made the country and the shooters proud.

“This is a proud moment for our shooters. He has proved that India has a great talented bunch of shooters,” said Karmakar, also a good friend of Vijay.

Saina’s dream of an Olympic gold was shattered when she lost to a superior Wang Yihan of China in the women’s singles semifinals. The Indian will now play another Chinese Wang Xin in the bronze play-off Saturday.

Saina, the first Indian shuttler to play in an Olympic semifinal, could not match the class of the reigning world champion. The 13-21, 13-21 defeat was her sixth straight loss to Wang, who remains the only Chinese the Hyderabadi has never beaten.

The Indian girl’s opponent for bronze Wang Xin, who has a 4-2 head-to-head record against the Indian, lost to compatriot Li Xuerui 20-22, 18-21 in the other semifinal.

Saina tried her best against the World No.1, who moved better on the court and was relentless in her attack during the 39-minute contest. A slew of unforced errors by Saina, especially towards the end, contributed to her downfall.

Vijender pipped US rival Terrel Gausha 16-15 in a thrilling bout to enter the round of last eight at the Excel Arena.

He will now fight Uzbek Abbos Atoev for a place in the semifinal. Victory over Atoev will assure Vijender of a medal, as both losing semi finalists are given bronze in the competition.

However, the Indians fared poorly in hockey, athletics and swimming.

On the hockey turf, a jittery India crashed to a 2-5 defeat against Germany for their third straight reverse in Group B of the Olympic men’s clash to bow out of medal contention.

The Germans, recording their third consecutive win, gave a fine exhibition of their efficiency based on strong basics. The Indians, after an enthusiastic 15 minutes at the start, simply caved in under pressure.

Leading the German charge was 20-year-old Florian Fuchs with three strikes (7th, 16th, 37th) and Oliver Korn (24th) and Christopher Wesley (33rd) chipped in with one apiece while India’s goals came from Ramachandra Raghunath, whose 14th minute drag-flick got deflected into the net, and Tushar Khandkar (62nd).

India’s campaign in the showpiece track and field got off to a disappointing start with the country’s sole woman triple jumper Mayookha Johny crashing out with a 22nd place finish overall and 13th in group B. She had a best effort of 13.77 metres, which was not far short of a slot in the final.

Male shot putter Om Prakash Singh also faltered in the qualification round finishing 10th in group B.

He fouled in his third attempt to finish with a best of 19.86m, which is below his national record of 20.69m he managed in the run-up to the Games in May.

India’s lone swimmer at the Games Ullalmath Gagan cause no ripples in the pool as he fell by the wayside in the 1500-metre freestyle heat. He ended up seventh and last in Heat 1, clocking six minutes 31.14 seconds.

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