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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Laxman: A not so sung hero

This is my 100th post on this blog. I had earlier planned a post on different subject, moving away from sports since my previous 15-16 posts were all related to sports -  Olympics and India.
But a news today morning changed everything.
This post is dedicated to one of the great batsman and a not so sung hero of Indian cricket - VVS Laxman.
VVS Laxman retired from test cricket today with immediate effect. He was selected for the forthcoming New Zealand series but he decided to retire without playing it.
It came as a surprise to not a few but I guess to all the followers of Cricket.
Some might have expected him to declare his retirement after the end of this series, but nobody must have expected that he will retire in such a haste.
If someone is asked what is the complete name of Laxman, the answer will be VVS Laxman.
But nobody would be able to tell what VVS means, because all they know is Very Very Special (VVS).That is his identity.
But, he was I guess the most unfortunate of the 5 gems of India.
These 5 gems can again be categorized in 3 levels

1) Sachin and Ganguly
2) Kumble and Dravid
3) Laxman

While Sachin is all time and every body's favorite, Ganguly with his aggressive attitude has earned this status close to Sachin.
Kumble and Dravid, being quiet couldn't reach that high altitude as first two but still they created a high status for themselves.
This leaves Laxman alone behind who in spite of making unbelievably great contribution to Indian cricket was lost in front of the 4 stalwarts.

Kumble- though was mostly ignored/ less considered player initially, made his mark in his fag end of the career. While retiring (the first among five) from cricket, he actually retired like "Jumbo" the name that was stuck to him. He made a grand retirement. Since he was the first among five to retire, that added a new dimension to his retirement.
Ganguly -  Though Ganguly's retirement was controversial and almost forced onto him, he took it in his stride. He made everybody  realize that he has earned it.
Dravid - Once again surely a case of forced retirement did not made that big buzz as previous two, but still he had his share on TV, newspaper, Internet media. All the applauding and saluting words related to " The Wall " were making rounds for a long time after his retirement.
Sachin -  He has gained that stature in Indian Cricket, which no other player has ever achieved. No body can force retirement on him. He will retire when he wants and now with added glory of a Rajyasabha member, will someone dare to force him into retirement. Some people may indirectly try to suggest, but all such efforts will always be futile.
This leaves Laxman as the only case who retirement did not recieve much accolades. Few words were said by Sachin and Ganguly but otherwise it was a quiet business.
He surely must have been to asked to announce his retirement after this series. He must have been offered a  condition where he retires after the series and he will receive a grand retirement and as one of TV anchor on NDTV said, all other players will take him on their shoulders and make a round of the ground and then give comments that how India has lost one great player and how the void that has been created with his retirement can not be  filled easily. BCCI will throw a party where all great liars of Indian cricket will come and brag about how Laxman was very very special.
             I liked the way Laxman instead chose and decided to retire without accepting this fake send off which none of those actually felt. In his famous way of fighting against the odd instead he chose to hang his boots immediately and without accepting their bribe. He surely has sent a message that the way they treat their senior players is not right.
           If the Indian cricket feels that a particular player is not fit to play in spite of what is his experience, they better don't choose it and ask them to prove themselves to be fit to be in the team. That will go well for the players instead of this decide the date method. Also every player is aware if he is still fit to continue playing or should he stop.
           It sounds ridiculous when people around keep suggesting that a player should retire. I was dumbstruck when people started suggesting Bindra, that he should retire, because he could not repeat his performance and could not win gold in Olympics. I was left with no words when people started suggesting  Sachin to retire giving example of Phelps who retired after a career of 4 Olympic season winning 22 medals.
           Coming back to Laxman, he was the most ignored gem of the set of 5 who actually played an inning that  changed the way Indian players started thinking. His knock of 281 runs in Kolkota against Australians in partnership with Dravid  was responsible for India snatching victory from Australians coming out of a follow on. I doubt Indians had ever done that before and his knock made it possible for Indians to think that they are a strong force who can not only stand against a strong team like Australia, but also dream of winning  over them.
It was Laxman who built this confidence in us. He repeated similar action many times in later matches and helped India win while all the other great players were getting out cheaply. People mentioned Dravid as a player who is ready to take up any responsibility, but Laxman is the only who was ready to play in any position. He is the only player who has played in all the position except 9th and 10th position.

In spite of such a great contribution, this hero is mostly ignored today after his retirement with people breathing a sigh of relief for he finally retired and making way great  emerging players ( read Rohit Sharma!!!!!).

I wish him good luck.

Monday, August 13, 2012

India at Olympics 2012 - Final day

                          On the final day, India had a last chance to update the medal tally. Two participants representing India, one in Marathon and other in 66 kg category free style wrestling.
                           From Marathon not much was expected, as accordingly Indian runner stood 78th in overall ranking. He could not repeat his performance given for Olympic qualification and took 14 minutes more to complete the race.
                           This brings to our last and one of the biggest hope in the form of Sushil Kumar. Even before Wrestling events started, Sushil Kumar had commented that he wanted to change the color of his medal. To add to that the previous day, Yogeshwar Dutt bagged Bronze which surely must have boosted his moral while going into the bout.
                            Interestingly, in first ever bout itself he had to fight with last time Olympic gold medal winner. I didn't know that. It seemed difficult to me for Sushil to make it to the next round. The opponent was looking too strong and at times it appeared that Sushil Kumar won't make it. While watching the match, I thought like all other talkers, even Sushil Kumar's words are going to go in air. But some how he managed to save the match and move on to the second round.
I was not sure that Sushil can go much ahead until I read about his opponent. By winning his first bout against last time gold medalist, he proved that he is stronger than last time and can actually go a long way to look for gold.
                            Next two matches looked relatively simple than the first match. While in quarter final he had an upper hand all along the bout, in semi final, things were going against him and he was almost on the edge.
                            With 1-1 set level in semifinal, the opponent had already scored 3 points in first 30 seconds itself. Filling up a gap of 3 points is very difficult knowing that the opponent now will not take any risk to loose the lead. Then Sushil started scoring points. At one point, there was an issue. It appeared as if Sushil bit his opponents ear. The opponent also had immediately complained about it to the referee. But there was no clear visual to confirm it. I do not know what happened next but the appeal was considered ahead and the bout was continued. It was a dubious situation and really difficult to confirm what exactly happened and why the opponent's ear started bleeding. Anyway, moving away from the controversy, Sushil regained his control over the bout and at one point he picked up his opponent, stood up and almost threw him down on mat. He won the set and the bout and entered finals confirming a medal for India.
                          Finals did not go well, possibly because of him not being fit physically at that moment. The Japenese wrestler had a cake walk to the Gold and Sushil had to settle down for the silver.
                         It brought India's challenge to an end in Olympics on a high note.
India could not win a gold this time, but it surely has doubled its medals than last time. This actually is a great news. It shows that India's power in sports is increasing. Some of our players lost their events missing out closely on medals. We actually could have crossed 10 medals in this season. But apparently, little more hard work is still required to make it larger.
I am pretty sure this development will surely encourage the young sportsperson as well as the governing agencies to give more attention towards sports. Things have started to move and it will take better shape by the time 2016 Rio Olympics arrive. This time we had some very young sportsperson like Deepika Kumari, Amit Kumar who still have age in their hand and now they also have experience with them. We doubled our medals tally this year from 3 to 6. And I am pretty sure, with this new young experienced bunch of sportsperson, we will surely cross 12 medals mark next time

Sunday, August 12, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 15

Day 15 must be the most successful day for India in this Olympics. India had only one event in the whole day  and it was ultimately successful.
India's Yogeshwar Dutt participated in 60 kg free style wrestling. I was not very keen to watch the match, because I don't wanted to witness again what happened to Amit Kumar. Little then did I know that Yogeshwar is little more tough guy than Amit.While could not do much in repechage round, thanks to his safe playing opponent and unfavorable luck, Yogeshwar did a fabulous job.
Yogeshwar did fare in his first round. In pre-quarter finals, as I was worried, he across the world champion. He fought well but that was just not enough. Fortunately his Russian opponent did well enough to reach finals creating an opportunity for the Indian to be back in the medal run.
Yogeshwar had to go a hard way to make it to the Bronze medal. Since he lost in the 2nd round itself, he had to fight with all the opponents who lost to the Russian wrestler.
I didn't get to see the first repechage bout where he had to fight to wrestler who lost to the Russian in the first round itself. Apparently Yogeshwar was lucky to get the favorable clinch position after the rounds tied. He managed to score just enough to make it to the 2nd repechage round.
I am not great fan of the way the clinch position is decided. It is totally based on luck. And you must be a great fool to loose this favorable opportunity. Moreover, there is no chance to make a comeback. Just one move, who ever grabs the opportunity (mostly the wrestler who has favorable clinch position), wins the round. I believe if in 1st round say a red wrestler is offered favorable clinch position, then next time, it should go to the other wrestler to make it an equal opportunity game. But somehow that doesn't happen. Why, is out of my understanding.
Anyway, coming back to Yogeshwar, if he was lucky enough to score points in clinch in 1st repechage round, I guess he was equally fool enough to loose points from favorable clinch position in the 2nd repechage round.
In the first round of the 2nd repechage game, Yogeshwar took the advantage of the favorable clinch position to almost pick up and throw his opponent on the mat. But his opponent was smart enough to keep a firm grip on Yogeshwar, and as soon as he was on the mat, he rolled over to get the back of Yogeshwar on the mat. I did not understand what exactly was happening there, but initially Yogeshwar was given 3 points, but after his opponent challenged the decision, it was reversed to give 3 points to the opponent. It was really confusing.
But then Yogeshwar had a tough task of winning next two rounds to make it to the bronze medal round. And he did that comprehensively. I found Yogeshwar as a wrestler who actually makes moves like picking, rolling and throwing opponent side ways on the floor. It was just fantastic to see Yogeshwar winning this fight and making it to the bronze medal round.
 The final round was going to be tough for Yogeshwar, since his opponent was on advantage that he directly came for the fight fresh while Yogeshwar had to play 2 fights each of 6 minutes in last 40 minutes. And he indeed was not fit. It was difficult to look at him. His left eye was swollen enough to close the eye.
The opponent from North Korea was also god. He won the first round easily scoring single point. In the 2nd round Yogeshwar managed to score point to equalise the rounds. The third round was the most important. Now while watching previous fights, all time I was wondering, why Yogeshwar is putting his head between his opponents legs. It used to look so weird.  Ultimately Yogeshwar himself gave the answer.
In one of the moves, after throwing the North Korean wrestler on the floor, when he once again put his head between his legs, I had no clue what amazing thing I am about to witness.
It was the initiation of the move. He converted this into a move where legs of the opponent are cross locked and the control is in your hand. And you try to put pressure to cross his legs more, the opponent is forced to flip to uncross the legs. Every such clip cost him a point because he need to roll over his back every time he tried to uncross his leg. Yogeshwar's grip on his opponents leg was so strong that he forced his opponent to roll over 5-6 times consecutively and won the fight even before scheduled 2 minutes.
 It was really wonderful performance by Yogeshwar and the fact he had to fight back right from scratch to win this medal makes it even bigger.
         This is one of the best performance by any Indian sportsman in such a big event and Yogeshwar totally deserves all the accolades.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 14

Towards the fag end of Olympics 2012, India's participation is now limited to free style wrestling event.
There are four categories, 55kg, 60kg, 66kg and 74kg where our wrestlers appear. Out of these, 2 events 55kg and 74kg happened on day 14. India's Amit Kumar in 55kg category and Narsingh Yadav in 74kg category ultimately ended their challenge on sad note.

In 74 kg category, Narsingh Yadav lost his bout in 2 straight sets. To me he appeared totally clueless about what is happening around him and before he came to his senses, the bout was over. For a moment I thought he is making his debut in wrestling competition through Olympics. Later on, found out that he actually has won many medals in different competitions for India.
It was really surprising to see the way he went for his first bout. Compared to him, his competitor from Canada looked far more relaxed and experienced. And he surely won his bout with sheer experience. He did not gave any opportunity to Indian wrestler.

In contrast was the performance of Amit Kumar. He is only 18 years old and the youngest of all the wrestlers. He got a bye in first round. And he did well in second round. He used good techniques and although his opponent was looking an experienced one, he managed to win the bout.

The quarter final round really confused me. I really have no idea how these judges give points. May be my lack of knowledge in wrestling, but the way I see it, Amit Kumar almost picked up his opponent and threw him on the mat. The opponent from Georgia regained the control quickly and ended up controlling the situation. I understand that the Georgian wrestler should get points, but why no point  to Amit and 4 points to opponent is really surprising. Well he lost the match finally.
Since the Georgian wrestler managed to reach the Final, Amit got another chance to fight for Bronze.
This bout was really horrible. Amit's opponent was just not at all ready to give in. He kept running away from Amit. Amit was aggressive and tried to make many moves, but his opponent was running away not allowing Amit to come any closer. I believe he should have been warned for avoiding the fight.
But nothing happened.
Now, this clinch thing is something funny. If a set ends in tie, then one of the wrestler (first the one in red and then if necessary in next round for blue) gets a chance to select a ball. Depending on the color of the ball, red or blue, one gets a chance to make a move with  other wrestler in more or less a surrendering situation (Hands up). And it is totally luck based who gets the advantage. It may happen that the same wrestler gets the advantage in all the rounds.
And that's what happened  with Amit Kumar. His opponent managed to take both the rounds till end by not at all fighting and unfortunately in both the rounds he got the advantage to make the move and gain single point some how managing to win the sets and so the bout.

Amit was really unlucky and must be really disappointed to loose it in this manner.

All we can say, he  will learn from mistakes he made, become more stronger and better in coming days and be better prepared for next Olympics.

Friday, August 10, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 13

Well not a lot was expected from India on Day 13. Only three participants, with not many hopes.

Sahana Kumari, the only representation of India in high jump could mark the height of 1.8 meters. But she failed to touch her performance best of 1.92 meters. It was a bit disappointing. Had she even touched her best performance she would not have made it to finals because cut off was at 1.93 mts and there were lot of participants who touched that point.

But at least she manged to get a right jump unlike our triple jumper yesterday.
India has to go a long way to be in top three.

Another event was wrestling where Geeta Phogat, again a lone contender from India lost her match to her Canadian opponent. I watched the match and I was convinced that Geeta gave a good fight. Both the players won one set with one point each. In the third and final set, the Canadian opponent first got a chance to score. After few seconds Geeta also employed almost the same trick ( as I understand with my limited knowledge in wrestling) but the points obtained by two players were different. While the Canadian got 3 points Geeta got only 1.

I don't know what she did wrong, but she lost the match by 2 points overall.
She was not disappointing.

Although later on as I hear, she failed in repacage round and this time miserably to give away any chance of medal.

The third participation was in 800 mts running semifinals, Tintu Luka. Although she performed well by her own standards, reaching closer to her best performance, that was not enough. While she finished 6th or 7th with her close to best performance of 1.59 minutes, the qualifiers were in the time zone of 1. 57 to 1.58  minutes.
One thing which even I can point out is her running style. She moves her head so much left and right on every step, which surely is not helping in increasing her speed. She is loosing lot of energy in this unnecessary exercise. If you check all other runners, their head are still while running. I wonder if P.T.Usha, her coach did not realized this or they have some other theory behind this moving head.

Starting tomorrow, India's last piece of hopes in winning medals  in Men's Free style wrestling begins. There are 4 strong men with one Bronze winner Sushil Kumar. India has big expectations from 2 out of 4, Sushil Kumar in 66kg category and Yogeshwar Dutt in 60 kg category.

Sushil Kumar has mentioned that he will change the color of his medal. That will be great surely, but even if he retains his medal that is also fine rather than returning empty handed.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 12

                      Day 12 must be the most heart breaking one for India. Two major contenders of medal lost their bouts.
                      India's Mary Kom who had already fixed at least a medal for India, was fighting for the position in final. It was a tough match, but at the same time, Mary has defeated her opponent earlier. So, she also had a chance to win the bout. But unfortunately that didn't happened. She finally lost to the boxer from Great Britain. All Indians must have felt a bit disappointed. I personally found it more difficult to accept than the loss of Vijender Singh the previous day. I totally wanted Mary to make it to Finals. She must have fought well but guess the opponent was too good for her to beat.
                      The other disappointment that really did not go well with me was the loss of Devendro in the end of the day. Devendro really has a spark but somehow his opponent from Ireland was able to score points. I really don't understand how it works in Boxing, but except in 2nd round Devendro was better than his opponent. The 2nd round was not good for Devendro. But I kept wondering what exactly did his opponent did in the 2nd round to score 10 points.
                       It is overall disheartening to see all our 7 quality boxers fail to get medal and the sole medal comes from a woman boxer. But I must say, the referee and the judges did pathetic job and if not all at least half of our boxers would have made it to medal level.
                       A little relieving news come from athletics where Tintu Luka qualified for the semi finals of women's 800 meters race. He did run well and managed just in time to overtake the third runner who other wise was one of the favorites in her heat.
                       That's a good news but I guess not for long, because semifinal is tough. She will standing against few who are looking to challenge the world record of 1.53 minutes while her personal best is in the range of 1.59 minutes.
                       Time will tell how long is her journey.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 11

           Day 11 was a quiet affair for India. There were only 3 event scheduled for Indian players.And what should we say, India's representation tried their best to reach the bottom of disappointments at their best.
           Least of all the disappointment, was the performance of Vikas Gowda who participated in the finals of Discus throw.
Vikas could not repeat the performance he gave in qualifying. This time he could not cross the mark of 65 meters and fell miserably behind at 8th position.
In his case at least it was convincing that he managed to qualify for the final round.
             Our next bottom of disappointment was achieved when Renjith Maheshwary failed to give even single correct jump in triple jump event.
Among 27 contestants, he was the only one who could not jump correctly even once. It was disappointing. I was wondering what was running in his mind when he took those three jumps. It is so difficult to follow the basic rules of jumping when you are working hard on them for whole of your career. You can make mistake once or even twice but all your three attempts go wrong is something worth worrying. Either you are totally wrong in your technique or you are not paying attention to what mistakes you are making and trying to rectify it.
            I would not mind if he does not qualify or even he stands last in the whole bunch but at least take a correct jump if not good one.
            I understand that he is a medal winner in some big competitions like Common wealth and Asian games but I also came to know that this is not the first time he failed to get even one jump right.
           One way to look at it is he might be trying too hard to cross that mark of qualifying 17 meters mark and in doing so, he forgot to keep track if he is jumping correct or not.
           Since I did not saw any of his jumps, just followed his attempts, I can not say what exactly went wrong. All I can say is if he is representing India again, he better learn some lessons from past failures.
           The third and the most disappointing performance  of course came from the Hockey team. Seriously!! All five matches lost with big difference when we were expecting a medal from this team!
            I find it hard to believe that a team which was supposed to be one of the best representation of India in Olympics in Hockey till date could not win even a single match.
There is something terribly wrong at the player level or player-coach level which we could not see but that has shaken the whole team up to the root and disturbed their game.
            Hockey team is going to receive lot of criticism once back in India.Many of the senior players might have to say 'Good bye' to their Hockey career. Coach might be changed or he might resign after such a dismal performance. But somebody need to analyze the whole situation and dig out the real reason and real culprit behind this failure.
           One thing is sure. People will surely loose all their leftover interest in Hockey. Indians do not follow Hockey on day to day basis, but they all know Indian Hockey and Olympics  has a golden relation and they want to see it happening again. In the near future, it appears to be more or less a dream only.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 10

Entering into day 10, Mary Kom confirmed one more medal for India. She qualified for the semifinal.

- Mary Kom assures 4th medal for India, sails into semifinals

Women's Boxing event is a new addition to the events in Olympics. And it is heartening to see India has a good representation. Mary Kom who is 5 times world champion in 46kg category had to participate in higher weight category because her category was not included in the event. So, she had to fight with opponent who are heavier, taller and bigger than her. In spite of that she has managed to defeat two of her opponent to grab a position in Semifinals. Now that a medal is confirmed, she has become a more known personality back in India.
I hope she goes on and win a Gold for India.

This will also make India's most number of medals won in any Olympics.

On the contrary, in Men's 75 kg category, Vijender Singh could not repeat the history. He lost his bout to his opponent on point basis. It was difficult for me understand why he scored less than his opponent. He was more aggressive in the ring. But one thing I observed was his punches were hitting the target properly and instead even one punch by opponent was taking perfect hit on Vijender's face. Well, I am not an expert to judge the bout. All I know is I found Vijender giving his full in those 9 minutes, but ultimately lost. We are still proud of you. Better luck next time.

I am not sure if except for Devendro any other boxer is left in the ring with a hope of medal for India. He has his quarter final bout on day 12 i.e Aug 09 1.15 am. Hopefully, he will make it to the semifinals.

On other note India's Discus thrower Vikas Gowda has qualified for finals. He stood first in his heat covering 65.2 meters for 2kg disc.

In overall tally he stands 5th and it will require  him to outperform himself to make it to top 3. Discus throw finals are scheduled for tonight.

With that India is getting closer to finish its events in Olympics. Some representation in Athletics and some good representation in free style wrestling is all that we will be looking forward to in coming days.

Monday, August 6, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 8 and 9

Day 8 and 9

Took a break on day 8.

Saina's Bronze medal win was not inspiring enough I guess to continue the diary on consecutive 8th day. But back after 9th day.

It was heartening to see Saina win a medal for India. Don't know about other players of India, but Saina definitely has tried very hard to reach this position.
Although the way she got the medal was not the way we expected.
At one point it appeared Saina is no match to her opponent and she is going to loose this match also in straight sets. But then Saina fought back into the game. She finally started getting rhythm and she managed to bring the match up to 20-18. That point her opponent who actually stands 2nd in world ranking got injured. But it was apparent that she was looking tired for last 4-5 rallies and in spite of this tiredness when she tried to pick shuttle far behind than her expectation, she stretched herself bit too much. Her body though did not supported this extra stretch which resulted in the injury. She tried to get back to the court with some quick medication but that didn't worked and she finally had to give up on the match.

I am pretty sure had this not happened, Saina surely would have made up for the lost set and recovered to win the match. I believe Saina totally deserved the medal.

Saina confirmed what I said in earlier post. She apologized to the media for keeping them at a distance earlier because she wanted her racket to do the talking. And she has succeeded in doing that.

Now that Saina's event is over, where else can we expect medals coming for India. There are three hopes I know of.

First and foremost is Vijender Singh in Boxing. He is playing his quarter final on day 10 and if he succeed in that he possibly will make sure one more medal for India. But looking at all the dubious decisions in Boxing arena where mostly Indian boxers are at the receiving end, I am little skeptical about his win.

Other possibility of medal again comes from Boxing but from a female boxer Mary Kom. Female Boxing has been introduced for the first time in Olympics. I wish Mary Kom all the best wishes of India and believe she moves ahead.

In Wrestling, last time Bronze winner Sushil Kumar is one of the main contenders. I have little knowledge of wrestling so I will restrict myself to wait and watch and wish Sushil Kumar all the success in his event.

Apart from that, not much to hope for Indians I believe. In athletics I watched most of the events and was surprised that none of the race included Indian athletes. India did participated in Disc throw, long jump etc but no representation in Running competition. That was bit surprising.

On International level, two things that attracted my attention.

Pistorius reached Semifinal of 400 meters race.

It was an amazing visual to eye to see Pistorius running the same race with other healthy racers. Although he stood last in his semifinal heat, it is worth mentioning that he qualified for the Semifinal. At the end of the heat, the winner of the heat asked for the badge of Pistorius which showed respect towards this extra ordinary person.

Day 9 finished with 100 meters Men's race which of course Usain Bolt easily won.

I saw all the qualifying rounds, semi finals and the final race.Usain Bolt was amazing. He ruled all the three races he took. The qualifying round looked so simple for him. In last 10 meters he was actually checking where all other runners stand compared to him before finishing the race.
The Semifinal was no different. He slightly increased his speed compared to qualifying round and won the race easily.
In the finals, he once again stood ahead all other runners with the second runner taking as good as 0.12 seconds more than Bolt. It appeared as if he could have done even better. In comparison the other Jamaican runner Powell looked pale. Initially he failed to even qualify for the Finals, but later got a chance to run the finals. I was suspicious that he is not in his form and stand no chance to come any closer to Bolt. The way he ended the race didn't look natural. He was in race for first 3-4 seconds, but then he started lagging behind as good as 4-5 other runners, forget Bolt. And at that point suddenly he got an injury. May be it was while trying to gear up that his body didn't supported.

All in all it was a great Sunday. Lot of good things coming up in next few days with very little but still some hope for medals for India.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 7

             What can we say about Day 7. It was an altogether different day than rest of the days. It brought joy in the form of Silver medal but saw the most dependable Saina Nehwal crashing in Semi finals and then it ended with a controversial decision reversal to throw Indian Boxer out of the race.
             The day itself started on a sad note, when Saina Nehwal went down fighting against the world no.1 player from China. It was known that this is the most difficult match and the biggest hindrance in Saina's way. Saina could not give any fight to her opponent and lost in straight sets.
Biggest disappointment for all Indians. After her loss, all Indians apparently had lost any hopes for any medal. Olympics suddenly started appearing less interesting.
             To add to that Gagan Narang could not make it to the finals of 50m rifle prone event. Although Joy Karmarkar made it to the finals, since its not a known name as Narang or Rana, he did not created much ripples. In the end he lost marginally and stood 4th in overall ranking missing the medal closely.
            And then something unexpected happened. Out of nothing, Vijay Kumar won Silver Medal in Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. None of the Indian has any idea who Vijay Kumar is. And here he won a medal of India. But that is how a person become known to all. After Rajvardhan Rathore, Jaspal Rana, Gagan Narang and brief introduction with Joy Karmarkar, one more shooter is now known to all Indians.
- Vijay Kumar clinches silver in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol at London Olympics
            India got another blow even before they come out of partying mood of winning another medal. India's Hockey team lost their third consecutive match and that too more badly than previous 2 matches. India's hopes to reach next round reduced to zero after loosing to Germany by a huge margin of 5-2. I did not expected  Indian team to win a medal but this poor performance was certainly not expected.
           By the end of the day, in athletics, Poonia managed to get into finals but comparing her performance with others,I doubt we should hope for medal from her. Rest of the performances in athletics were of course disappointing.
          In Tennis, Leander and Sania were trailing  by a set but they were head to head to their opponents and they might be able to come back in the game when the match begins again today.
          The most shocking thing that happened at the end of the day was the reversal of decision in Boxing. Earlier Vikas Krishanan was declared winner in the quarter final match but afterwards when opponent Americans appealed after the bout was over, the decision was reversed and the opponent American was declared winner.
         Apart from India's performance, the highlight of the day was the performance of  Dibaba from Ethiopia who won Women's 10000 meters running event. It was one of the most breathe taking event I have witnessed. In the initial phase, three Japanese runners were controlling the race but as the race progressed  the Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes who till this point were closely following the 3 Japanese slowly started overtaking them one by one. After an interval the three Japanese were at position 8, 10,12 and the lead was in the hands of Kenyan players fighting it out with 2 Ethiopians including Dibaba. As the end started approaching closer these 4 athletes were almost 1 round ahead of their other opponents. But in the end Dibaba from Ethiopia suddenly increased here pace to such an extent that rest of the three runners were left behind by a big margin and Dibaba appeared to be the winner.

Friday, August 3, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 6

Day 6 was again a mix up of success and failure for India
While Vijender Singh made it to the quarter finals in boxing, other boxer Jai Bhagwan could not manage to keep up the tempo.
- London Olympics: Vijender Singh enters quarterfinals
- Indian pugilist Jai Bhagwan boxed out
Similar was the case with Badminton. As expected Saina Nehwal made it to Semifinal but Kashyap could not move ahead. He Had a tough competition from World no. 2 shuttler and it would have been a surprise had Kashyap won this fight. But he has come a long way.
- Kashyap goes down fighting to Lee Chong Wei at Olympics
What Kashyap had on Day 6, Saina will have on Day 7. She will come across World no.1 Yihan Wang who has never lost to Saina till date.
Guess am too late to write this post. Recent update says Saina lost her semifinal match in straight sets. One more and the worst of all the disappointments. Saina Nehwal was India's most favorable chance of getting a gold medal. Indians will be disappointed today.
- Saina loses against Yihan Wang in semifinal
Apart from that India still has some hopes in mixed doubles tennis event where Sania Mirza- Leander Paes sailed into 2nd round. I hope they get better in their game to reach as ahead as possible.
- London Olympics: Sania Mirza & Leander Paes move into quarterfinals
Another disappointment comes from shooting event. Ronjan Sodhi who was one of the major contenders of medal for India could not make it to the final. According to him, it was his worst performance ever and he has never played so badly before.

- India's double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi out

Well, what can we say, one more event closed for India.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 5

Another day full of disappointments. I am surprised how worse we are performing day by day. My all interest in keeping updates of Indian players in Olympics is slowly fading away. At this point I am wondering if I should continue updating this piece on Olympic.

Now its difficult to call which among all is the biggest disappointment.

Lets take Hockey first. Seriously!! After all the big words making round for last couple of days, this is what we get to see. Even my father who is a big fan of Hockey and who has followed hockey for all his life gave up and did not watched yesterday's match complete.

With all the hype about players improved physique and stamina and strength sounds crap now. I was so looking forward to their performance when one of the players said they want to imitate Sourav Ganguly act when they win.I will be really surprised if that happens in coming days. I am disappointed.

- Hockey - India suffer second successive defeat

Second big disappointment comes from Tennis. L-V pair crashed out in the second round. It was a tough match and they failed to overcome the resistance from the French team. All the controversy related to pairing will subside now, knowing that none of our Tennis players is good enough to reach the podium. All that is remaining now is mixed doubles and I would dare to expect anything in that event.

Leander Paes-Vishnu Vardhan crash out of London Olympics

Other disappointing results include:

While India's challenge in women's doubles  was already over, our team was trying to find a small chance to get back in the competition which unfortunately didn't happened.

 - India's badminton protest rejected at London Olympics

 - Rahi, Annu fail to make the final of 25m pistol event

 - Archery: World No.1 Deepika Kumari makes first round exit

 Swarn Singh was already out of medal contest in individual scull and repecage. He was contesting for the final ranking and the result again was not very cheerful as I understand it.

 - Swarn Singh finishes second in Men's single sculls semifinal at London Olympics

Only cheering news comes from Badminton court where both Saina and Kashyap made it to quarter finals. The upcoming match for the players are tough ones.

While Saina would need to be more cautious while playing against her opponent in QF, Kashyap will come face to face with 2nd ranked Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. Its going to be very tough and Kashyap would need to put all his experience and efforts to get in to semi-finals

 - Parupalli Kashyap through to the quaterfinals of the men's singles Badminton event at London Olympics

- Saina Nehwal marches into quarterfinals

Hoping to be back here with day 6 updates and few disappointments and more success stories.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

India at Olympics 2012- Day 4

Hah!!! Another day full of disappointments. If yesterday was a day of cheering and success, we compensated that today with as many failures as we can.

I read somewhere that Indian archers stand at no.1. I need to cross check if I read correct.Guess our archers haven't learnt to handle the pressure in the crunch situation or on a big stage. While Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai managed to reach the pre-quarters, which they ultimately lost, other 2 archers crashed in first round itself. This I guess brings an end to our archery challenge in Olympics.

- Archer Tarundeep Rai crashes out in pre-quarters
- Archer Rahul Banerjee crashes out in pre-quarters

Other major disappointment comes from Weightlifting where Ravi Kumar, India's sole representation in the event failed miserably. He lifted a total of 303 kg against 329 kg by the topper of the group.
Apparently he was suffering from fever just before the event and that hampered his performance.

- Ravi Kumar disappoints, weightlifting campaign ends

In women's Judo, Garima lost her match against Japenese in just 81 seconds. Seems Garima was no match to her competitor who was rewarded an "Ippon' means maximum points for pinning her opponent on her back for more than 25 seconds. That's what should be called a dismal performance

- Judoka Garima knocked out by Japanese Ueno

Remember I mentioned that I have no idea what  scull and repecage means. Sadly
I will never know now. I was thinking to read about it over the weak end just so that I will be able to better understand what Swarn Singh is competing in. Today he lost in the quarter finals. He also lost along with his partner in double scull competition. That brings an end to our participation in that event.

- Indian rowers out of medal reckoning in London Olympics

A major blow came when Bhupathi-Bopanna pair lost to a french pair who entered competition on wild card. They did not showed any signs of fight. I feel the long and tough match they played on day 3 took a toll. Their first round match went on for more than 2 hrs. and it is really difficult to recover after an exhausting match within 24 hrs. Their second round exit is really shocking. B-B supporters must be hiding at the moment from P-V supporters for sure. Hope P-V don't follow B-B path and keep their cool to win more and more matches.

- Bhupathi-Bopanna ousted by wild card French pair

The worst of the news comes from Badminton court. Jwala-Ashwini combo couldn't reach quarter finals in spite of winning their last match against 13th ranking group.
Four teams tied and based on differences in points taken and made, Indian pair stood third. First two teams made it to Quarters.

- Jwala-Ashwini win but fail to enter quarterfinals

But the badminton court also have a good news. P Kashyap who I missed earlier quietly made it to quarter-finals. Other than Saina, Kashyap has kept the hopes of medal alive for India. Keep up the good work. On other note, was wondering if India has representation in Men's doubles?

- P Kashyap qualifies for knockout stage in men's singles

A last update of the day tells the success story of another Indian boxer.Indian Boxer Manoj Kumar moved to second round in light welterweight 64kg.
- Manoj Kumar sails into pre-quarterfinals of 64kg category

I am keeping the best result of the day for the end. If Garima gave a dismal performance by loosing in just 81 seconds, the same day, we also experienced to be on the other side. In men's light flyweight (49kg) boxing, India's Devendro knocked down his opponent in merely 144 seconds i.e. in even before the first round was completed. The fight was stopped 36 seconds before the first round finished. Devendro was aggressive right from the beginning and by the time fight was stopped, he had taken the lead of 24 -2. It will be interesting, how he proceed in upcoming rounds

- Power-packed Devendro storms into Olympic pre-quarters

This makes 5 of our boxers moving ahead in their competitions. Can we expect some success here?