Photographs: Patrick Semansky/AP
Strong medal contender MC Mary Kom opened her campaign on an impressive note as she punched her way into the quarter-finals but the men's hockey team continued its freefall after being thrashed 4-1 by South Korea at the London Olympics in London on Sunday.
Yet another humiliating defeat of the hockey team meant that the eight-time gold medallists are now heading for their lowest-ever finish in the Olympics as they will finish at the bottom of the group.
The team would now have to fight for the 9-12 spots after their fourth straight defeat in the six-team pool B.
On a lean day for Indian participants, trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu too put up a dismal display and was trailing 25th out of 34 participants with a three-round score of 70. Two more rounds (50 shots each) remain to be held on Monday.
Too easy for Mary
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Mary, with five world championship titles under her belt, whipped Polish opponent Karolina Michalczuk into submission with her aggressive intent to notch up a convincing 19-14 victory in the 48-51 kg class as women's boxing made its Olympic debut.
The 29-year-old Manipur-born Mary, a mother of two, lined herself up one victory away from a medal in the ring.
Her next bout is against Maroua Rahali of Tunisia, who got a first round bye, Monday.
After a close opening two rounds in the four-round encounter (each round lasts 2 minutes), Mary opened up a sizeable lead in the third that proved decisive against the world no. 5.
"It was a good way to start, the whole country was praying for this win. There were lot of people of all religion who were praying for me and I am happy that I have crossed the first hurdle," Mary said after the win.
"It was tough as it was the first bout of the Olympics. It was the first Olympics for me and it is a very good experience," the Indian added.
Hockey team disappoints yet again
Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
However, a win continues to elude Indian hockey team, which is the only one among 12 competing in these Olympic Games without a single point from four matches.
India's defence showed some resolve to hold on grimly against the fast-paced Koreans, but it crumbled thrice on well-directed penalty corner shots.
South Korea's gameplan to exert pressure on India with fast overlapping game produced rewards as the tentative Indian defence again conceded some soft penalty corners.
The sustained pressure built by the Koreans midway through the first session was an indication of things to follow as India seemed desperate and fell back to defend their citadel, but they had no mechanism to stop Nam Hyun Woo from converting two penalty corners in the 59th and 70th minutes to shatter the Indian hopes of salvaging some pride.
South Korea took an early lead Jang Jong Hyun converted a sixth minute penalty corner by placing a rasping drag-flick just under the crossbar.
India got the equaliser in the 10th minute on a breakaway move in which Gurwinder Singh Chandi deflected in Gurbaz Singh's cross from right into the boards.
The last two qualification rounds are scheduled for Monday and even if the Indian manages to fire 25 in both the series, it looks unlikely that the former Commonwealth and World Champion would make the cut.
Only the top six shooters go through to the medal round.
Controversial exit of Manoj Kumar
Photographs: Ivan Sekretarev/AP
Mary's victory though provided solace to the boxing team after the controversial elimination of male fighter Manoj Kumar from the 64kg class.
The Indian came out of the ring and said he was cheated after the verdict went 20-16 in favour of his British opponent, Stalker, in a thrilling bout.
The 26-year-old Manoj fought well, but appeared to be distinctly unlucky not to get points, before exploding with his mouth.
"It doesn't look fair because he was going in one direction and the scores 7-4 and 9-4 to him don't justify that," the dejected Commonwealth Games gold-medallist said.
"It doesn't look like an Olympic Games but more like a district competition because if it's Great Britain in the ring, it doesn't matter who's against them. It's like a district competition where there's lots of cheating, cheating, cheating," he added.