It wasn’t an ideal opening day for the Indian contingent as shooters and tennis stars failed to make an impression. In shooting, Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul failed to advance to the final while in the men’s 10m air pistol, it was Jitu Rai who reached the final but finished eighth. The big disappointment came from the tennis courts as Leander Paes-Rohan Bopanna crashed out in the opening round. Men’s hockey team won their opener while rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal reached quarters of men’s singles sculls.
Hockey off to Bright Start
Rupinder Pal Singh struck twice as drag-flickers ruled the roost to help India register a fighting 3-2 win over Ireland in their opening match of the men’s hockey competition. Drag-flickers VR Raghunath (15th minute) and Rupinder (27th, 49th) converted three out of seven penalty corners India earned in the match to secure their first win in an opening clash at the Olympics since Sydney Games 2000.
Indian rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal entered the quarterfinals of the Men’s Single Sculls after finishing third in his qualifying round. In the first heat of the day, Armyman Bhokanal finished the 2000m race with a timing of 7:21.67s behind Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba (7:06.89s) and Mexico’s Juan Carlos Cabrera (7:08.27s).
The other Indian in the fray, a part from Jitu Rai, in the 10 m air pistol, Gurpreet Singh crashed out finishing 20th with a score of 576.
Leander Paes’s dreams of winning a second Olympic medal went up in smoke as he and Rohan Bopanna made an inglorious exit in the opening round of the men’s doubles competition, losing in straight sets to the Polish pair of Marcin Matkowski and Lukasz Kubot 4-6, 6-7, (6-8).
Indian women paddlers Mouma Das and Manika Batra exited after losing their preliminary round singles matches to higher-ranked rivals. World No.150 Mouma lost to world No 58 Daniela Dodean Monteiro of Romania 2-11,7-11, 7-11, 3-11. Debutant Manika put up a fight before going down to her 60th-ranked Polish rival Katarzyna Franc-Grzybowska 2-4 (12-10, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-14) in 48 minutes in another preliminary round clash.
Indian shooters Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul were way off the mark in the 10m Air Rifle Women’s Qualification, finishing way behind the leaders to bow out of the competition in the Rio Olympics.