Olympics: Super Saina wins bronze, Manoj Kumar loses (Roundup)

August 5th, 2012 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 5 (IANS) Saina Nehwal became the first Indian shuttler to win an Olympic medal Saturday when she bagged the bronze after her opponent, China’s Xin Wang, retired hurt from the play-off.

However, the glamorous mixed doubles pair of Leander Paes and Sania Mirza went down in the quarters ending the nation’s unproductive tennis campaign, while in discus throw, Krishna Poonia was outclassed and finished seventh.

It was a mixed day in boxing as L. Devendro Singh made it to the last eight before Manoj Kumar lost his pre-quarterfinal bout at the ExCel Arena.

Walker Irfan Kolothum Thodi finished 10th in the men’s 20-km race walk with a national record.

Luck smiled on Saina, who had lost the first game 18-21 and was trailing 0-1 in the second when the Chinese pulled out with a right knee injury, ensuring the third medal for India from the games after a silver and bronze from shooters Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang.

India had collected three medals (a gold and two bronze) in the Beijing Games four years ago.

Wang dominated the game all the way and Saina could not match her pace making many errors.

Saina tried fighting back towards the end of the first game after Wang reached game point (20-14). The Commonwealth Games gold medallist saved four game points to make it 18-20.

But a game point away, the Chinese made a heavy landing, while hitting a smash, and fell on the floor writhing in pain.

The referee called for medical time-out. The tournament doctor came in and tended to her knee. The World No.2 returned to the court with a heavily strapped right knee.

Surprisingly, she immediately sealed the game smashing Saina’s serve.

But despite winning the first point in the second game, she again dropped on the court in pain. Saina went to comfort Wang, who had no choice but to retire as she could not carry on.

The match was awarded to Saina, who hugged her opponent becoming India’s second woman to win an Olympic medal after weightlifter Karnam Malleswari at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

For Saina, it was a dream come true.

“I still can’t believe that I have won a medal. I never believed that India could win a medal in badminton because the competition is so tough,” she told reporters.

In the ring, Devendro became the second Indian boxer to enter the quarterfinals bringing some relief following last night’s heartbreak when Vikas Krishan had to bow out from the pre-quarters hours after the authorities upturned the result of the men’s 69 kg bout which featured the Indian against American Errol Spence.

Manoj too was knocked out of the competition after he lost his 64 kg pre-quarterfinal bout 16-20 to Britain’s Tom Stalker.

Devendro prevailed over Mongolian Serdamba Purevdorj 16-11 in a men’s pre-quarterfinal match of the 49 kg category at the ExCel Arena. Beijing Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh has also booked his place in the last eight.

At Wimbledon, Leander and Sania lost 5-7, 6-7 (7-5) to the top seeded Belarusian pair of Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi in a match that was played over two days due to bad light.

The Indians were trailing 5-7, 2-3 when bad light stopped play here Friday evening. But when play resumed Saturday, the Indians failed to make a comeback.

There was disappointment in track and field, where S. Sudha fell by the wayside with a 13th place finish in in heat 1 of the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase.

At the Royal Artillery Barrack, Indian female trap shooter Shagun Chowdhury could only manage a 20th place in the qualification round and missed out on a final spot.

In rowing, the team of Sandeep Kumar and Manjeet Singh got the 19th slot in the men’s lightweight double sculls by competing the race in seven minutes and 8.39 seconds at the Eton Dorney lake.

In the men’s 20 km walk, apart from armyman Thodi, two other Indian participants Gurmeet Singh and Baljinder Singh completed the gruelling distance in the 33rd and 43rd positions respectively.

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