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Neha Aggarwal's Olympics over in 34 minutes
August 18, 2008 11:54 IST
Young Neha Aggarwal's tryst with the Olympics [Images] lasted precisely 34 minutes. India's lone woman paddler in Beijing [Images] began with a bang but ran out of steam and crashed in the first round on Monday.
The Delhi [Images] teen, playing an opponent almost twice her age, lost 12-10, 8-11, 11-13, 8-11 and 4-11 to Chinese-born Australian Jian Fang Lay in little more than half an hour.
Having lost her previous two matches against the 35-year-old Australian, Neha looked determined to settle scores this time and went neck-and-neck in the first game till they were levelled at 8-8.
The Indian soon broke loose, much to the surprise of the Australian, to pocket the game in five minutes and go one up in the match.
In the second game too, Neha looked sharp as she raced to a 4-2 lead before the Chinese overtook her. Suddenly, Lay was attacking more and Neha could not withstand the onslaught and surrendered the game.
The third game followed the same script with Neha leading 10-8 before the Australian came from behind to grab the game and go 2-1 up in the match.
Clearly struggling with the deceptive returns of her Australian opponent, Neha once again lost momentum in the fourth game and she could only watch the Australian run away with the game.
By the time the tie reached the fifth game, Neha had thrown in the towel. Cutting down on smashes made her a lesser force and Lay virtually ambled her way to win the game and the match.
''I think I played a decent match. Of course, I could have done better and should have won it, but still I'm carrying a lot of positives,'' Neha said after the match.
''Having lost to her twice in the past, both were close matches. I was determined to make amends this time but towards the end, things didn't go my way. Her backhand was better than mine and I was missing my smashes as well.
''She was hardly missing anything. All of a sudden, she came blazing all guns and I just could not cope with that,'' she said.
''Still it was overall a great experience and I'm happy that I tried my best,'' Neha added.
Asked if she was tired in the last game, the youngster said, ''Not really. But the first few points were very crucial for me and once they went her way, I think I stood no chance at all.
That upset my rhythm and I could not recover.''
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