Rio de Janeiro: Woman archers Laishram Bombayla Devi and Deepika Kumari along with boxer Manoj Kumar were the only bright spots in an overall disappointing day for India at the Rio Olympics, with medal hopeful Jitu Rai, judoka Avtar Singh and weightlifter Satish Shivalingam crashing out of their respective disciplines.
Bombayla and Deepika advanced into the 1/8 Eliminations round of the women’s individual archery competion while Manoj stunned 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania by a split decision in the Round of 32 of the men’s Light Welterweight (64kg) category here on Wednesday..
Bombayla beat Taipei’s Shih-Chia Lin 108-101 via 27-24, 27-24, 26-27, 28-26 at the Sambodromo.
Earlier, she defeated Austria’s Laurence Baldauff 105-98 in the 1/32 eliminations in the women’s individual round match.
Deepika also displayed red hot form, defeating the higher ranked Kristine Esebua of Georgia in the 1/32 eliminators before getting the better of Italy’s Guendalina Sartori of Italy in the 1/16 eliminators.
Later in the day, Manoj displayed excellent defence and counter-punching skills to beat Petrauskas by split decision in the Round of 32 of the men’s Light Welterweight (64kg) category at the Riocentrio Pavilion.
Up against the bronze medallist of the 2012 London Olympics, Manoj dominated all three rounds to carve out a 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 verdict and advance to the pre-quarterfinals.
The Indian will next meet Fazluddin Gaiznazarov of Uzbekistan in the Round of 16 on August 14. Gaiznazarov had outclassed Malonga Dzalamou of Congo by RSC (Referee Stopped Contest).
But the rest of the day’s action brought disappointment to India, who continue to search for their first medal in the Games.
Shooter Jitu finished 12th in the 50 metre Pistol qualification round, failing to reach the finals that will be competed by eight competitors.
Jitu consistently managed to hit the bull’s eye on nine occasions in his pet event and his cumulative scores after the six series qualification round read 92, 95, 90, 94, 95 and 88 to total 554. But a poor sixth round cost him the berth to the finals.
“I let my country down. There was wind but I don’t want to make any excuses,” a dejected Jitu told reporters.
In the same event, Prakash Nanjappa never really looked in the hunt with a score of 547 to bow out of the competitions after finishing 25th.
Weightlifter Satish Shivalingam crashed out of the men’s 77 kg elimination round, only managing to lift a total of 329 kg, which was not close to the best lift of 346 kg in his group.
Next to come up with a poor show was Avtar, who lost to Popole Misenga of the Refugee Olympic Team in judo’s 90 Kg elimination Round of 32. Avtar, from Punjab, lost by a single point following the end of five minutes of regular time.
The 24-year-old suffered two penalty points that made it difficult for him. Misenga, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo, effected a shoulder throw on him to seal the victory.
Meanwhile, in hockey, the Indian women’s team was outplayed 1-6 by Australia in its third group stage match as the morale-sapping crunching defeat raised big doubts over qualification for the quarter-finals.
The difference in class and quality between the two teams was clearly on display as World No.3 Australia scored through Kathryn Slattery (fifth minute), Georgina Morgan (ninth), Jane Claxton (35th), Georgina Parker (36th), Jodie Kenny (43rd and 46th).
It was world No.13 India’s second loss in three matches and they are now sixth in the Pool B standings. They will face world No.5 United States (Thursday) and world No.2 Argentina (Saturday).