Rio de Janeiro: After drawing a blank over the first six days vis-à-vis opening the coveted medal chest, India would be keenly watching action on day 7 at the Rio Olympics on Friday with Blue Riband athletics events making its bow.
It was a largely disappointing sixth day on Thursday in which shuttlers Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth shone even as the men’s hockey team lost in the league and yet made it to the quarter finals after 36 years.
There were setbacks in women’s archery where Deepika Kumari and L Bombayla Devi bowed out at the pre-quarter final stage leaving male archer Atanu Das as the lone person standing to make amends on Friday when he takes on formidable South Korean rival S Lee for a place in the last eight in the individual elimination phase.
Both India’s doubles teams—Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa (women) and Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy (men)—have a chance on Friday to atone for their losses on Thursday in their opening league encounters. Jwala and Ashwini will be up against E Muskens/S Piek of The Netherlands, while the men’s duo are set to cross swords with W Hong/B Chai of China. These are must-win games as otherwise they will almost certainly be eliminated ahead of their third and last league clashes on Saturday.
Shooters, who have been a major disappointments, will resume action on the range with London Games bronze winner Gagan Narang set to try his luck in the men’s 50m Rifle Prone Qualification along with Chain Singh.
In skeet, Mairaj Ahmed Khan will make his appearance while there’s Indian interest in the men’s 25m rapid fire qualification with Gurpreet Singh in action. In men’s hockey, India will take on Canada in their concluding pool game while golfer Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia will try to make amends for a below par show on Thursday in the four-day stroke-play competition.
Athletics will see Indian athletes compete in both track and field events, apart from 20km race walk in which Gurmeet Singh, Manish Singh Rawat and Ganapathi Krishnan have been entered. Mohammed Anas (400m) and Jinson Johnson (800m) will take part in first round heats while veteran Vikas Gowda (men’s discus) and Manpreet Kaur (women’s shot put) would complete the line-up for the day in athletics.
In men’s rowing Dattu Baban Bhokanlal, already out of medal contention, would conclude his campaign by taking part in the C/D semi finals of the single sculls event to get a final placing. As the day would draw to a close former Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan would fight with Sipal Onder (Turkey) in the men’s 75 kg category to see who, between them, advances to the quarter finals.