The 118-strong Indian contingent continued to put on a generally dismal show barring a few exceptions like archer Atanu Das on Day 4 of competitions at the Olympic Games here today.
The talented Atanu Das blanked his Nepalese rival Jitbahadur Muktan 6-0 to reach the round of 16. A day after ace marksman Abhinav Bindra missed by a hair’s breadth, the chance to secure a second Olympic medal to add to the gold, he had won eight years ago in Beijing, woman shooter Heena Sidhu flopped in the precision round of the two-phased 25m pistol event.
Heena, from whom a lot was expected in the run-up to the Games, was a distant 30th out of 40 competitors at the end of the first half of the 25m event for women. In the 30-shot precision round, Heena accumulated 286 points out of a possible 300 with series scores of 95, 95 and 96 that pushed her in the rear of the queue. The rapid fire segment, also of 30 shots, was to follow and the Indian shooter needs to pull up her socks but chancers of making the cut appeared too remote.
Heena, who had qualified by winning the gold in the Asia qualifiers, had failed to progress to the final of the 10m air pistol held on Sunday. India’s overall display in shooting, considered among its main medal hunting ground, has not lived up to expectations with the best effort coming from Beijing Olympic Games rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra yesterday, a fourth place finish in the men’s 10m air rifle event.
Others, including another major medal hope Jitu Rai, had failed to sparkle thus far. Rai flopped in the 10m air pistol event but has the 50m event to look forward to now. Another experienced campaigner, 2012 London Games bronze medal winner Gagan Narang, performed poorly in the 10m air rifle yesterday to finish 23rd.
He would be keen to make amends in the 50m range, where he will be seen in action in rifle prone (August 12) and three position (August 14). In rowing, India’s lone competitor Dattu Baban Bhokanal finished fourth in the quarter-finals of the men’s single sculls to go out of medal reckoning.
Bhokanal clocked 6:59.89 to cover a distance of 2000m, little more than six seconds behind the third and last qualifier from the quarterfinal 4, Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (6:53.52) from Poland. Croatia’s Damir Martin, the London Olympics silver medallist, won the quarterfinal with a far superior timing of 6:44.44, ahead of second-placed Alan Campbell (6:49.41).
Armyman Bhokanal, whose ailing mother is an Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in India, had clocked 7:21.67 in the heats. He commenced strongly and was second going past the 500metre mark but then gradually slowed down to lose his chance of advancing. Bhokanal will now have to fight for the minor placings.
Indian men’s hockey team was playing its third Pool B encounter against Argentina today after having lost to reigning champions Germany by conceding a goal in the last few seconds yesterday. Boxer Vikash Krishan (75kg) is scheduled to perform later in the day.