Tokyo 2020: Redemption for India as Shuttler Sindhu, Boxer Satish, Hockey Team Foray Into Quarters
© REUTERS / LEONHARD FOEGERP.V. Sindhu of India in action during the match against Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel
© REUTERS / LEONHARD FOEGER
Barring the lone silver medal won by weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, Indian athletes in Tokyo have disappointed their fans with their performance. While the archers have failed to make it to the knockout stages, the shooters have been embroiled in a series of controversies, and the women’s hockey team has lost all three matches so far.
Day 6 of the Tokyo Olympics turned out to be a good one for the Indian contingent. The country's star shuttler P.V. Sindhu stormed into the quarterfinals of the women's singles after defeating Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in straight games.
Sindhu, a silver medallist of the 2016 Rio Games, is one of the big favourites to claim a gold medal in Japan.
The Indian superstar, the reigning world champion in badminton, was always in control of the proceedings, notching up a comfortable 21-15, 21-13 over the 13th seeded Dane in a match that lasted only 41 minutes.
Gone in 40 Minutes 🔥@Pvsindhu1 storms her way to the quarters with a straight game victory beating 🇩🇰's #MiaBlichfeldt 🏸— Delhi Capitals (Stay Home. Wear Double Masks😷) (@DelhiCapitals) July 29, 2021
She faces 🇯🇵's #AkaneYamaguchi at 12:00 PM tomorrow ⌛#Badminton #Cheer4India #TokyoOlympics #PVSindhupic.twitter.com/FW9IGewF6C
Former Olympian Abhinn Shyam Gupta, who represented India in the men's singles in badminton at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was quite impressed with Sindhu's win.
"Sindhu moved really well in the match. She was a bit more aggressive than usual, especially during the crunch moments in the first game and that's why she ended up winning without any difficulty at all", he told Sputnik on Thursday.
Vivek Sagar Prasad and Harmanpreet Singh Stun Argentina
The men's hockey team brought more joy to millions of Indian supporters after the Manpreet Singh-led side crushed the reigning Olympic champions Argentina 3-1 to advance to the last 8 stage of the competition.
After Varun Kumar's goal gave India the lead in the 43rd minute, the match began to heat up. Kumar's goal came in the third quarter, after the first two quarters remained goalless.
However, Argentina equalised in the 48th minute and the match was heading towards a draw before an inspired Vivek Sagar Prasad (58th) and Harmanpreet Singh (59th) struck back-to-back goals in the final two minutes to register India's third win in four matches at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
Former India forward Jasjit Singh Kular believes Manpreet's team has the momentum and the form to end the country's medal drought in hockey at the Olympics in Tokyo.
"India's 7-1 defeat against Australia was disappointing, but the way this team has bounced back speaks a lot about their character. Manpreet has led his team well and I am pretty confident they will return with a medal from Tokyo", he told Sputnik on Thursday.
Satish Kumar Makes Strong Debut
On the other hand, boxer Satish Kumar also sailed into the quarters in his debut Olympics to keep his hopes alive of winning a medal in the Japanese capital.
Kumar, the first Indian to compete in the super heavyweight (+91kg) category in the quadrennial sports mega-event outclassed Ricardo Brown of Jamaica in what was his opening bout at the games.
It was a battle of the debutants at Tokyo's Kokugikan Arena and Satish appeared in charge of the fight from the word go, eventually sealing a comfortable 4-1 triumph over his Jamaican rival.
Satish is now one win away from claiming his first Olympic medal as all the boxers who reach the semis are assured of a medal at the games.
However, winning the elusive medal will not be easy, as the 32-year-old will square-off against the reigning world champion, Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan, for a place in the last four.
"He is not unbeatable. Although Satish has never won against him, the last time they fought in the India Open, it was split verdict. He ran him close", Indian boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said about Satish's upcoming clash with the Uzbek.