Indian contingent’s disastrous performance at Rio Olympics continues on Sunday as more woeful news came in all throughout the day.
In the latest setback, the hockey team lost to 1-3 to Belgium in quarterfinals to crash out of men’s hockey competition. And with this, the country’s hope to regain Olympics glory after 36 years came to an abrupt end once again.
This came after India’s medal hope Saina Nehwal too made a surprise exit from the women’s singles event at the Rio Olympics adding more agony to Indian contingent.
The London Olympics bronze medallist and world no. 5 who had inflammation on her right knee, lost 18-21 19-21 to World No. 61 Maria in a match that lasted 39 minutes at the pavillion 4 Riocentre in Rio.
Elsewhere, in the mixed doubles tennis match for Bronze Medal, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna too surrendered to their Czech Republic’s opponents Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek by 1-6, 5-7.
The Indian pair, who raised hopes of a medal with two consecutive wins to make the semis, suffered a 1-6 6-7 humiliation in the mixed doubles contest that lasted one hour and 13 minutes.
Mixed doubles was India’s best bet for a medal as it featured only 16 teams and winning three matches would have ensured a medal.
Sania and Prarthana Thombare had lost first round in the women’s doubles while Bopanna and Leander Paes had also made a first round exit from the men’s doubles.
43-year-old Paes, who has now appeared in seven Olympics, now remains the only Indian tennis player to have won a medal in the biggest sporting extravaganza. He had won a singles bronze at 1996 Atlanta Games.
Stepanek was all class in the bronze medal contest as the Czech unleashed his powerful strokes, constructed the rallies and finished points with his superlative display.
The Czechs sprayed the winners all over, catching the Indians by surprise, giving them no breathing space in the opening set. Both Sania and Bopanna lost serve to trail 0-5.
Bopanna saved two set points in the sixth game to save ignominy of being bageled. Lucie came out to serve out the opening set.
(With agencies inputs)