London: Gagan Narang on Monday opened India’s account in the London Olympic Games by winning the bronze medal in the men’s 10m air rifle event at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Narang shot 103.1 in a ten-shot finals for an aggregate of 701.1 after scoring 598 in the qualifying round. Romania’s Alin George Moldoveanu clinced the gold with 702.1, while Italy’s Niccolo Campriani took the silver with 701.5.
However, Abhinav Bindra, India’s shooting gold medalist in 2008, failed to make it past the qualifying event for the title he won in Beijing four years ago. He shot a round of 594 in the qualifiers, getting three nines in the sixth and final round which ruined his chances of qualifying. Meanwhile, Narang shot a round of 598 to reach the finals.
In the women’s individual archery event at Lord’s, India’s Bombayla Devi shot valiantly but crashed out in the round of 16. She won the round of 32 6-4 after five sets, but lost 6-2 in the pre-quarters to Mexico’s Aida Roman.
Bombayla missed the target altogether as she got a zero in the fourth set which turned out to be the decider. Though the Mexican archer didn’t perform that great, it was Bombayla’s inconsistency that cost her the match. After hitting five 10s in his first round encounter, Bombayla could only log 10 on two occasion compared to four times by her opponent.
There was further disappointment for India in the men’s singles event, where the 304-ranked Vishnu Vardhan lost 6-3, 6-2 to Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic in the first round.
In the boxing arena, Sumit Sangwan went down 14-15 under controversial circumstances to Brazilian Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino in the round of 32 of 81kg category.
The 19-year-old fought valiantly and should have won more points but the judges thought otherwise. Sangwan looked to have taken the first round but the judges decision meant he was left trailing by one point. The Indian came out strongly in the second round and attacked with great combination punches but surprisingly the bout was given in favour of the Brazilian 5-4.
At last there was some good news for India in tennis as Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna staved off stiff resistance from Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury before advancing to the men’s doubles pre-quarterfinals.
The seventh seed Indian duo, registered a hard-earned 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 8-6 win over the Belarusian pair in their first round match, which lasted for two hours and 26 minutes. They will now play French pair of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet.
Meanwhile, the Indian men’s hockey team put up a spirited performance in their opening match of the London Olympics 2012 against Netherlands, but the Dutch proved to be the better team on the day, prevailing in a tense finish to win the match 3-2.
India were clearly the second-best team on the park in the first 35 minutes after Robert van der Horst (20th min) and Roderick Weusthof (29th min) had put the Dutchmen ahead 2-0. The two teams went into the dugout with the same scoreline at the half-time hooter. However, India came out in the second half having sorted their midfield play and scored twice in the space of three minutes through Dharamvir Singh (45th min) and Shivender Singh (48th min) to draw level.
Playing in their first match, Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan got their campaign off to a great start by putting up a spirited performance to see off Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-2 in the first round match.
In badminton, Saina Nehwal cruised into the knockout stage of the women’s singles competition after notching up a comfortable straight-game win over Belgium’s Lianne Tan in a group stage match. The world number five Indian did not need to exert herself and was in complete control of the match as she saw off the Belgium girl 21-4, 21-14 in just 24 minutes.
After that Indian pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa defeated Chinese Taipei’s Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien 25-22, 16-21, 21-18 in a group B match and this win keep their hopes alive of making it to the knockout round.