Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): India, which had sent its largest-ever contingent of 119 athletes in the Rio Olympics, ended their campaign at prestigious quadrennial event on a disappointing note as they finished with a paltry medal haul of two, including a silver and a bronze here on Sunday.
Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, India’s last realistic medal hope on the concluding day of the Olympics, failed to showcase his charm as he suffered a crushing 0-3 qualifying bout defeat at the hands of Mongolia’s Ganzorigiina Mandakhnaran, whose last-eight exit dashed the Indian’s hopes of securing his second career bronze medal through repechage.
Dutt, who endured an injury-plagued season last year, won a bronze in the 2012 London Olympics through repechage system.
In another event on concluding day, Indian long distance walkers Gopi Thanackal (2:15:25) and Kheta Ram (2:15:26) produced their personal best timings, but they failed to make much impact in the men’s marathon as they ended their campaign in the Brazilian city at 25th and 26th spot respectively.
Meanwhile, Nitendra Singh displayed an extremely disappointing performance as he made a lowly 83rd-place finish with a timing of 2:22:52 in the marathon, which was held on rain-drenched streets.
It was after eleven days of agonising wait when wrestler Sakshi Malik finally broke India’s medal drought by clinching bronze in woman 58kg category wrestling event.
After going down 2-9 against Russia’s Valeriia Koblova in the quarter-finals, Sakshi received another chance at a medal via repechage and made full use of the second life as she made a spirited comeback victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova to bag the first ever medal in women’s wrestling.
The victory also saw her become only the fourth Indian wrestler to win a medal in Olympics after Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.
Just two days after India opened their account, ace shuttler P V Sindhu scripted history by becoming country’s first woman athlete to clinch an Olympic silver medal.
Although Sindhu missed out on gold, she displayed a superb fighting spirit against Spaniard world number one Carolina Marin throughout the summit showdown match to earn India’s second medal in Rio Games.
Sindhu has now become the second Indian player in badminton to win an Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal, who had clinched bronze in London four years ago.
In 2012, India had secured their highest medal tally from a single Games i.e six, without gold and there were pre-Games projections by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) that the tally will be doubled this time, given the highest-ever contingent of the country going in Rio de Janeiro.
However, all those assumptions were dashed and India ended up saving their image at the hands of two women, Sakshi and Sindhu, who were never seen as medal hopes.
Another Indian woman, who became the redeem for the country in the Rio Olympics, was lone gymnast Dipa Karamakar.
Although the 23-year-old debutant from Tripura missed a bronze medal by a whisker, she managed to performed Tsukahara (14.866) in her first attempt before successfully executing dangerous Produnova vault (15.266) in her second attempt in the women’s individual vault final at the Rio Olympics.
Meanwhile, shuttlers Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Kidambi Srikanth, shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang, ace tennis players Sania Mirza, Leander Paes all failed to perform at their absolute best and ended up making a disappointing exit from the Games.
Nehwal, who played with a knee injury throughout Rio Olympics, made a shocking group stage exit after suffering straight-game defeat at the hands of Ukrain’s Marija Ulitina.
2008 Beijing Gold medallist Bindra, on the other hand, bid adieu to shooting with a fourth-place finish in the men’s 10m air rifle event while Gagan Narang’s campaign ended after he failed to qualify for both 10m and 50m air rifle events.
Simultaneously, tennis continued to have its share of controversies as Paes turned up late for the men’s doubles campaign with Rohan Bopanna. The duo went on to make a first-round exit, with women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare also following suit.
Meanwhile, women shooters Heena Sidhu, Ayonika Paul, and Apurvi Chandela also failed to live up the expectation while archers Atanu Das, Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi made last 16 exit in their individual rounds.
While 18-year-old golfer Aditi Ashok managed to impress everyone by ending a campaign at seven-over 291, SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri made a disappointing 50th and 57th place finish in the men’s section of the sport, which returned to Olympics after 112-year hiatus.
Other sports like swimming, judo, rowing, table tennis and weightlifting also featured Indian athletes, but they all were buried by the top competition.
As far as medal toppers are concerned, USA lead the medal table with a tally of 119 (44 gold, 37 silver, 38 bronze) followed by Great Britain (27 gold, 22 silver, 17 bronze) and China (26 gold, 18 silver, 26 bronze) at second and third spot, respectively.
The Games also saw tennis World number one Novak Djokovic reduce to tears as he suffered a shocking opening round defeat at the hands of Argentina’s Juan Martin del Porto. A day after that, the Serbian suffered another defeat as he and his partner Nenad Zimonjik also crashed out of the men’s doubles event.
Meanwhile, 2012 Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray added another feather in his cap as he went on to clinch his second consecutive Olympic gold by beating Del Porto in straight sets in the men’s singles final in Rio de Janeiro.
Jamaican Sprint king Usain Bolt created an unprecedented record, a triple treble, as he bagged his third Gold in Rio Olympics 2016.
Usain won the 4×100 meters relay, and bid farewell to Olympics with nine sprint Gold medals to his name.He has won the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100 meters in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and now in Rio 2016.
Meanwhile, American swimmer Michael Phelps continued his dominance of the pool as he extended his tally to a staggering 22 Olympic gold medals, to end his career with a total of 28 Olympic medals.
Phelps, who retired after the 2012 Olympics before returning to the sport two years later, entered the Rio Games as the most decorated Olympian in history, with 22 medals, including 18 golds, and added five golds and a silver during eight days of competition.
The Rio Olympics featured a total of 207 nations, including Kosovo and South Sudan who made their debut in the Summer Games. (ANI)