Rio Olympics 2016, day 14 highlights: PV Sindhu, silver lining for Indian campaign
Day 14 of the Rio Olympics saw India win a historic silver medal when PV Sindhu went down fighting in a closely contested badminton women's singles final against Spain's Carolina Marin. But her podium finish made her the most successful Indian woman at Olympics.
Day 14 of the Rio Olympics 2016 saw India win a historic silver medal in badminton after PV Sindhu went down fighting in a closely contested women's singles final against Spain's Carolina Marin. But her second-placed finish made her the most successful Indian woman at the Olympics. However, none of the other Indians in action on Friday have made it to medal contention.
Here's a recap of how India fared on day 14 of Rio Olympics 2016.
PV Sindhu's silver in the women's singles competition lifted India's spirits, as the nation erupted in joy at the 21-year-old's historic feat. World No 10 Sindhu fought hard but ultimately ended up losing 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 to World No 1 Carolina Marin of Spain.
The silver took India's medal tally to two, after wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze in the 58-kilogram freestyle wrestling on Wednesday.
Sindhu started on a positive note but after 3-3, the Spaniard dominated the proceedings and took four consecutive points to lead 7-3 and then 9-5.
Unperturbed by the pressure of the occasion and her opponent, Sindhu controlled her nerves and displayed swift court movements and hit bodyline smashes to diminish the lead to 13-15. Sindhu, who was trailing 16-19 at one point, fought her heart out and took five points on the trot to claim the first game in 27 minutes.
In the second game, Carolina attacked from the start and Sindhu couldn't manage to control the torrent of attacks, trailing 2-11 at the mid-game break. After the break, Sindhu tried to bounce back and displayed a lot of power and strength to dismantle the strategy of her Spanish opponent, but eventually relinquished the second game 12-21.
In the decider, Marin got off to a flying start and took a five-point lead to go 6-1 up. But Sindhu, who was on a giant-killing spree after dismissing two higher-ranked opponents in the earlier rounds, pulled level at 10-10. Carolina went into the mid-game interval leading by a slender one-point margin.
After the breather, the duo continued to fight valiantly for each point, but it was the more experienced Marin who proved superior. Sindhu kept herself within touching distance at 14-16. But she was powerless when Marinupped the ante to pull ahead 19-14. She edged closer to match point with a half smash and eventually clinched the contest 21-15 to become the first Eurpoean woman to clinch gold.
Aditi Ashok went through a horrendous third round of eight-over 79 to drop 23 places to be tied 31st in women's golf. The 18-year-old, who scored two successive three-under 68 to be tied eighth till 36 holes, played a poor back-nine where she was bogged down by five bogeys.
Now she has a three-day total of two-over 215. With Friday's performance, her hopes of getting a medal look remote.
Aditi, the youngest woman golfer at Rio, got a bogey on the second hole before pulling things back with a birdie on the fifth. But she carded a bogey on the seventh hole to complete the front-nine with a score of one-over 36. In the back-nine, she made three consecutive birdes starting from the 11th before getting two more bogeys on the 18th to get a 79.
India had another poor outing in track and field events.
Sandeep Kumar finished 35th in the men's 50-km walk, talking four hours, seven minutes and 55 seconds to complete the distance. The 30-year-old was 26:57 minutes behind the leader of the race at the finish line.
In the women's 20-km walk, Khushbir Kaur finished 54th, while Sapna failed to finish. Khushbir, 23, took one hour, 40 minutes and 33 seconds to complete the distance. Khushbir's show was far from her national record mark of one hour, 33 minutes and 37 seconds. Sapna Punia failed to finish just after the 8-km mark.
In relay events, the women's team failed to qualify for the final of the 4X400 metres competition after finishing seventh in the heats, while the men's team was disqualified. The women's team — comprising Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Lukka, MR Poovamma and Anilda Thomas — clocked 3:29.53 minutes to finish seventh in heat 2 and 13th overall in the 16-team contest.
The men's team — comprising Muhammed Kunju, Muhammed Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun and Rajiv Arokia — clocked 3:02.24, but was disqualified for wrongful change of baton during the anchor leg between Dharun and Rajiv.
Indian wrestler Sandeep Tomar was beaten by Victor Lebedev of Russia 3-7 in the men's freestyle 57-kg round-of-16. Sandeep never looked in contention to win the match as the Russian grappler overpowered him to advance into the next round at the Carioca Arena 2 - Mat B.
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Sindhu had earlier pulled out of the Thomas and Uber Cup Final but later decided to participate in it, although the event itself eventually got deferred due to the rising number of pullouts.
Thomas and Uber Cup Finals postponed to 2021 by BWF after top teams withdraw due to COVID-19 pandemic
The BWF has, however, decided that the Denmark Open will proceed as originally planned in the BWF Tournament Calendar (13-18 October).
The twice-postponed Thomas and Uber Cups, the men's and women's world team championships, will be the first international tournaments since the pandemic brought badminton to a halt in March.