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A mixed opening day for India
August 09, 2008 20:44 IST
India began its Olympic [Images] campaign on a mixed note on Saturday with three ace shooters failing to qualify for the finals while the women archers, a rower, a badminton player and a pugilist made it to the next rounds of their respective events.
Showcased as India's best bets for a podium finish, Anjali Bhagwat, debutante Avneet Kaur Sidhu and veteran Samaresh Jung failed to fire their way into the finals of the their respective individual events.
However, Manavjit Singh Sandhu hung around for a place in the final of the trap shooting event even though compatriot Mansher Singh has an uphill task to qualify for the last lap for the medal.
The experience of Anjali and the verve of Avneet were not enough as they could not make it to the business end of 10m air rifle event, finishing 29th and 39th respectively.
Samaresh, on the other hand, could not reproduce his 2006 Commonwealth Games [Images] performance, which had earned him the moniker of 'Goldfinger' and shot 92,95,96,98,96 and 93 to total 570 and finish a lowly 42nd in the air pistol event.
Anjali, who is toiling more these days for her pet 50m Rifle 3 Position event, shot 393, while Avneet totalled 389 at the Beijing [Images] Shooting Hall Range.
Anjali began well and looked impressive in her first two attempts before losing her way. She shot 99 in the first two but things went haywire in the third where she shot 97 and signed off with 98 which was just not enough to make the cut for the eight-shooter final.
The only silver lining on a gloomy day for Indian shooters came from Manavjit who shot 23,23, and 24 to total 70 out of 75 target to secure 12th position and reamain in contention for a place in the final six.
Mansher, on the other hand, began well but fumbled towards the end and his 75-shot total of 70 had him at 21st, making it more difficult for him to qualify for the finals.
In archery, the trio of L Bombayla Devi, Dola Banerjee [Images] and Pranitha Vardhineni did enough to ensure that the women's team, courtesy its sixth place finish in the ranking rounds, got a bye in the first round.
The eves would now take on hosts China (1916), who finished third, straight in the quarterfinals.
Bombayla (637), Dola (633) and Pranitha (627) came 22nd, 31st and 37th respectively in today's ranking round and their aggregated tally of 1897 helped India finish among top six sides which got a bye.
In the individual section on Tuesday, in-form Bombayla will face lowly Iwona Marcinkiewicz of Poland, who finished 43rd with a score of 620, while experienced Dola takes on Marie-Pier Beaudet (628) of Canada [Images], who finished 34th.
Young Pranitha will have a tough task to get past Australian Jane Waller, who shot 634 to finish 28th.
Team manager KS Kang was happy about the women archers performance saying, "It was a quality show by the archers. Though Olympic is a different ball game altogether, we are happy with them."
The Indian camp got some good news from rowing competition when Bajranglal Takhar made it to the quarterfinals of the men's singles Sculls event.
Competing in Heat four, Takhar finished overall third, ahead of Monaco's Mathias Raymond.
The first four out of a total of five competitors qualified for the quarterfinals.
In boxing, Vijender Kumar score a comfortable opening round win over Gambian Badou JG Jack in the opening round of the middleweight category (75 kg) while his compatriot Dinesh Kumar was not as lucky, getting a thrashing at the hands of Algerian Abdelhafid Benchabla in the light heavyweight category.
Finally, in badminton Saina Nehwal [Images] routed her Russian opponent Ella Karachkova 21-9, 21-8 to storm into the second round of the women's singles event.
The national champion looked in sublime form as she needed less than half an hour to oust Karachkova and book a second round meeting with Ukraine's Larysa Gryga.
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