Saina in pre-quarters, shooters, archers disappoint(India Lead)

August 10th, 2008 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 10 (IANS) Teenage shuttler Saina Nehwal provided the good news by sailing into the women’s pre-quarter finals, but the archers and shooters failed on day two of the competition at the Beijing Olympic Games Sunday. Eighteen-year-old Saina seemed in fine form, as she carved out an emphatic 21-18, 21-10 second round win over Ukraine’s Gryga Larysa in just under half an hour at the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium.

In the archery arena, the Indian women crashed out of the team event going down 206-2111 against third ranked China.

There was more disappointment in store for the Indians, as world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and veteran Mansher Singh bowed out in the qualifiers of the men’s trap shooting event.

Playing Larysa for the first time, the 15th ranked Saina took her time to assess her opponent before shifting gears. The Ukrainian won her first two points at the start of the match, but Saina moved in and the score was neck and neck till 6-5 for the Indian. Saina then went on to build a 10-7 lead. Larysa made her first big move at that point with six straight points going up 13-10.

It was Saina’s turn thereafter as she raced with five in a row to take over the 15-13 and from then never relinquished it. From 20-15, Larysa made an attempt with three points, but Saina wrapped up the game 21-18 in 17 minutes.

In the second game, Saina was never challenged. She led 5-0, 8-1, 10-3 and 12-5 and soon ended the match at 21-10.

With the win coming on expected lines, the focus shifted to Saina’s next likely opponent, the fourth seed and reigning Asian Games champion Wang Chen of Hong Kong. Wang, is due to play her second round match in the evening against Eva Sladekov of Slovakia. .

Admitting that Wang will be a formidable opponent, Saina said, “From here on, every match is like a final. As for my game I did not feel uncomfortable at any point of my game. The crowd is great - you hardly see so many people cheering badminton players - and the atmosphere is electric.”

In the evening session, India’s Anup Sridhar will meet Marco Vasconcelos of Portugal.

In men’s trap shooting, Mansher ended eighth, while Manavjit was 12th. The top six entered the medal round.

Veteran Mansher, competing in his fourth Olympics, seemed on course to make the final after two excellent rounds on first day. But his third round of 20 out of 25 on Saturday proved to be his undoing.

On Sunday, he missed just one bird each in the last two rounds, but the damage had already been done as he was shut out of the final by two points. Mansher, who had a total of 69 on the first day, finished eighth among the 35 shooters with 117 from a maximum possible 125.

Manavjit Singh had recovered from his first two rounds of 23-23 with a 24 in the third round Saturday. But Sunday he caved under pressure with a 22 in the fourth, which effectively ended his chances. Not even a 24 in the final round could retrieve the situation. He finished 12th with 116.

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