For the last 10 days, India has waited for its first medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics but its athletes have failed to finish on the podium. Many have come agonisingly close to winning one and many have had shock exits from early stages. With each passing day, the expectations are getting slimmer and the news, depressing.
India now has only six day left to win that elusive medal from these Games, otherwise, for the first time since 1992, it will return medal-less. The high of London four years ago is turning into disaster in Rio de Janeiro.
The biggest disappointment was the shooters returning without a medal with Abhinav Bindra managing the best position among all – fourth. Jitu Rai, a big medal hope, failed to finish on the podium in 10m air pistol while he failed to qualify for the final of 50m air pistol, his pet event.
Saina Nehwal’s exit from the group stages came as the biggest shock and while hockey was not considered a medal hope, a semi-final finish was realistic. The Rio Games can be called a failure for India.
Now India have a few athletes left to compete and though the medal hopes are still alive, they are very bleak. Kidambi Srikanth will play the quarter-final of men’s singles in badminton but he faces Lin Dan, the two-time defending champion.
India’s last medal hopes lie on the wrestler with Yogeshwar Dutt leading the charge. With him is the controversy ridden Narsingh Yadav and a dark horse in 57kg Sandeep Tomar will also be in medal contention. In the women’s category, India’s three wrestler, Vinesh Phogat, Babita Kumari and Sakshi Malik will open their campaign two days from Tuesday. A medal from them will be a pleasant surprise, though the Indian expectations have not come true.
In athletics, we have a few athletes left but none have the class to win a medal at the Olympics. The women’s and men’s 4x100m relay team will take part on the second last day of Olympics. In the men’s 50km walk, we have two participants but it would be a great achievement if they can manage a top-10 finish. In men’s marathon, India have three participants who will look to make a mark.
Wrestling remains the biggest medal hope for India and while badminton women’s singles player PV Sindhu stayed alive with the win in the pre-quarters, it can’t be said with surety of what will come of her.
But it is too late to guess the medal contenders. What was thought of the largest ever contingent could not be executed and this Olympics has to be a big disappointment for India. A medal or not, this should not have happened.