With 5 more days at Rio, does India stand any chance of a medal? Here are the contenders
By Gopika Madhu
A little less than two weeks into the Rio Olympics, India is yet to produce a medal. Many have come close to winning but the most promising athletes have failed to cross the final hurdle. India’s hope is now on the few remaining events that we are still a part of.
Here are the forthcoming events where India would be looking to end the medal jinx.
The quarterfinals of men’s singles in badminton at 5pm on Wednesday will be a match to watch out for as Srikanth Kidambi will be up against China’s two-time reigning Olympic champion Lin Dan. However, Srikanth faces an uphill task against his opponent who is also a six-time All England champion and a five-time world champion.
Saina Nehwal’s exit in the early rounds came as a big shock but hopes are high for PV Sindhu who will square off against 21-year-old Nozomi Okuhara from Japan in the women’s singles semifinals on Thursday at 5:50pm IST. With Sindhu having already conquered World No. 2 Wang Yihan of China, hopes are high that she will be able to make it to the finals.
Sakshi Malik represented India at the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow where she won the silver in the women’s 58 kg freestyle wrestling. She would be competing in the same event at the Rio Olympics, where she will be up against Sweden’s Johanna Mattsson at 6:30pm.
Of the three sisters - Geeta Phogat, Babita Kumari and Vinesh Phogat - Geeta had won the World Championships to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012 in women’s freestyle wrestling. Vinesh Phogat has now stepped out of Geeta’s shadow and will take part in the women’s 48 kg freestyle wrestling in the round of 16 at 6:40pm on Wednesday.
In athletics, India’s hopes rest on the lone athlete left in the fray, Tintu Lukka. She will be competing in the women’s 800 meters at 7:25pm on Wednesday. She achieved her season’s best timing of 2:00.95 to finish seventh in the World Athletics Championships, thereby qualifying for the Olympics. Tintu had reached the women’s semifinals of the 800 meters event at the London Olympics in 2012.
Each passing day at Rio has only brought depressing news as far as India is concerned with athletes in various disciplines losing or getting knocked out. While it is hoped that India will not return with a wooden spoon, if that happens however, it would be the first time since 1992 that the country will come back without a medal to show for their efforts at the quadrennial event.