Rio de Janeiro: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar narrowly missed the bronze by finishing fourth in the women’s vault event even as shuttler Saina Nehwal, the men’s hockey team and tennis pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna crashed out on a dismal day for India at the Olympic Games.
Dipa, from the north-eastern state of Tripura, emerged as one of the few shining spots on a disastrous campaign as she ended up just outside a medal bracket with 15.066 points after putting on a superb display in the eight-woman vault final.
The gold expectedly went to favourite Simon Biles from the US who topped the table with near-flawless execution which fetched her the highest score of 15.966.
The silver went to Russia’s Maria Paseka (15.253) and the bronze was bagged by Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland (15.216).
Dipa’s superb show in a sport that is not popular in the country lit up the gloomy day which started with the exit of London Games bronze medal winner Saina to further dampen the spirits of the contingent on the ninth day of competitions.
Saina, who was carrying a knee injury into the quadrennial sports spectacle, lost 18-21 19-21 to lower ranked rival Maria Ulitina from Ukraine to make a shock exit.
Two other shuttlers remaining in the fray, K. Srikanth and P.V. Sindhu, atoned somewhat for Saina’s exit by reaching the pre-quarterfinals from their respective groups in men’s and women’s singles.
But more disappointment was in store for the contingent when mixed doubles medal hopes—Bopanna and Sania—lost in the bronze medal play-off in straight sets to the Czech pair of Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradceka.
To add insult to injury, the men’s hockey squad, which had qualified for the knock-out phase after 36 years, was bundled out of the competition by Belgium which inflicted a 3-1 defeat.
A lackluster India squandered a one goal advantage and blew away a great opportunity to create history after a hiatus of 36 years to climb the medal podium. Belgium, on the other hand, scripted history as they progressed to the semi-finals of the Olympics after a gap of 96 years. PTI