PIX: Kashyap the saving grace on gloomy day for India
Parupalli Kashyap was the lone bright spot on a disappointing day for India at the London Olympic Games, on Saturday.
Barring the shuttler's one-sided victory in the men's singles, India suffered reverses in badminton, table tennis, shooting, rowing and boxing -- the biggest being that of young medal hopeful pugilist Shiva Thapa in the first round.
Kashyap outclassed Belgium's Yuhan Tan 21-14, 21-12 in a Group D match that lasted 38 minutes at the Wembley Arena.
The 25-year-old world No 21 takes on Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam in his next match on July 31.
Image: P Kashyap
Diju-Jwala Gutta lose their opening group game
However, India's hopes of a medal in mixed doubles suffered a setback as V Diju-Jwala Gutta lost their opening group game. Jwala suffered a double blow as she and Ashwini Ponnappa went down 16-21, 18-21 to Japan's Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa in the group stage match of the women's doubles.
The day began on an uninspiring note when Diju-Jwala, a settled pair hunting for a medal, was beaten 16-21, 12-21 by Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir in less than 30 minutes in their opening Group C match.
They are still in the hunt for a medal though and will take on the Danish combination of Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl in their next match on Sunday.
Image: India's Jwala Gutta, center, play with teammate V Diju
Photographs: AP Photo/Andres Leighton
Thapa could not live up to the hype
Major disappointment, though, was in the boxing ring as Thapa could not live up to the pre-Games hype. He was outclassed by his Mexico's Oscar Valdez 14-9 in the 56kg class.
Thapa trailed 2-4 in the opening round, made a comeback in the second to clinch it 4-3, only to be punished hard in the final round, which he lost 3-7.
Elsewhere, too, the country faced setbacks -- the men's archery team getting eliminated at the pre-quarter-final stage, woman paddler Ankita Das making her exit without creating a ripple.
But India's Soumyajit Gosh beat Brazil's Gustavo Tsuboi 9-11, 12-14, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 10-12 in his first round match, in the men's singles table tennis competition.
Earlier, Ankita Das crashed out losing to Spain's Sara Ramirez in 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 in just 19 minutes.
Rower Swran Singh placing in fourth in his heats in single sculls. He, however, has a second chance in the repechage.
Image: Shiva Thapa
The archery venue also failed to provide cheer
India also made a shaky start to their shooting campaign, Vijay Kumar failing to qualify for the final of the men's 10m Air Pistol event at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
The 27-year-old Army man from Himachal Pradesh finished a disappointing 31st out of 44 shooters, with a score of 570.
The archery venue -- the iconic Lord's Cricket Ground -- also failed to provide cheer for the second day running as the men's team of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai were knocked out after losing to Japan in a tense pre-quarter-final shoot-off.
The Indian trio, which qualified bottom of the heap at 12th in the rankings round on Friday, was tied with their Japanese rivals at 214 after the regulation four rounds.
But the threesome of Yu Ishizu, Hideki Kikuchi and Takaharu Furukawa edged past the Indians 29-27 in the shoot-off in which the archers shoot alternatively.
The Indians were leading with the last set of three arrows left in the quiver before the Japanese equalised to force a tie-breaker.The trio will now be seen in action in the individual elimination rounds that will commence on Monday.
Image: India's Jayanda Talukdar, right, high-fives teammate Rahul Banerjee
Photographs: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
She had no business to walk in with the Indian contingent
Off the field, the presence of an unidentified lady beside Sushil during Friday's opening ceremony prompted the country's miffed officials to take up the issue with the Games' organisers.
Acting chef de mission of the Indian contingent Brig P K Muralidharan Raja is understandably agitated that a person who was not part of the delegation was allowed to accompany the team and hog the limelight in the process.
"She had no business to walk in with the Indian contingent and we are taking up the issue with the organisers. We don't know who she is and why she was allowed to walk in. It is a shame that she was with the athletes in the march past," said Raja.
"We were initially told that she would accompany the contingent till the track but she went on to take the entire lap. There was another man also but he stayed back and did not enter the stadium," Raja added.
"We have taken strong exception to this. The march past is for the athletes and officials attached to the contingent. We are totally taken by surprise how a person could just intrude into the track," he wondered.
Image: India's Sushil Kumar carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony
Photographs: AP Photo/Paul Sancya