The fighting spirit seemed lost as the Indian competitors performed extremely poorly in most events scheduled for them on Wednesday. The tale of miserable performance from some highly rated Indian participants was compounded by an evident lack of enthusiasm and a couldn’t-care-less attitude. Yesterday, Saurav Ghosal literally gifted the gold on a platter to his Kuwaiti counterpart after winning two games and coming strikingly close in the third. Ghosal’s silver and Jitu Rai’s first day gold aside, Indians have only won a series of bronzes and most of them by entering the semifinals in some events. Though there is still a long way to go, India’s men and women do not inspire confidence to their fans and countrymen. On day 5, the lone medal came from rowing, when Dushyant Singh claimed a bronze in men’s lightweight single sculls. In archery, Indian team was placed 5th in women’s recurve and in women’s individual recurve, the much-heralded Deepika Kumari was 8th. Of the other lesser known women archers, Laxmirani finished 15th, Bombayla Devi 20th and Vardhineni 30th. India’s shooters, who have been performing reasonably satisfactorily until day 4, flopped on day 5.
Rower Dushyant Singh won a bronze medal for India after taking the third spot in men’s Lightweight Singles Sculls final. Dushyant’s bronze was the only highlight on an utterly unimpressive 5th day for India, who have now dropped to the 15th spot in the medals’ tally with one gold, one silver and 10 bronzes. Lok Kwan Hoi of Hong Kong won the gold in this event while South Korea’s Lee bagged the silver. Other than Dushyant, Indian rowers participating in different rowing categories, came up with disappointing performances. Roopendra Singh and Manjeet Singh finished fourth in Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls Final and the Indian women’s pair of Sanjukta Dung Dung/Tarunikha Pratap finished 5th in Women’s Pair final.
Deepika Kumari won an archery bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and she once reached the No.1 rank in the world but such credentials were barely discernible yesterday in her finishing a poor 8th in the ranking round of the women’s individual recurve event at the Gyeyang Archery Field. Of the other lesser known names among India’s women archers, Laxmirani Majhi finished 15th, Bombayla Devi 20th and Pranitha Vardhineni 30th. In the team event for women’s recurve, India’s quartet of Deepika, Laxmi, Bombayla and Pranitha finished 5th in women’s recurve with a score of 3957 which was far too low in comparison to front runners; South Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei, who piled up 4081, 4044, 3994 and 3966 points respectively. Deepika and Laxmirani are still left with a chance to improve as they have qualified for the individual elimination rounds. On September 26, while Deepika will take on Uzbekistan’s Munira Nurmanova in the pre-quarter final, Laxmirani is pitted against Kyrgystan’s Sharbekova Asel. In the team quarterfinals, India’s women quartet will meet Hong Kong. In men’s archery, India’s team could only score 3923 points for the 6th rank behind South Korea (4101), Japan (4001), Malaysia (3955), Taipei (3951) and China (3928) with targets placed at 90, 70, 50 and 30 meters. The performance of men didn’t inspire much confidence and only Atanu Das and Jayanta Talukdar could move to the individual elimination rounds. On day 6, some more Indian archers will be seen in action when the compound event takes place.
After 4 days of reasonably good show, Indian shooters disappointed on Wednesday, when they couldn’t add anything to the medals’ tally. In Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Individual events, India’s Harpreet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Pemba Tamang couldn’t even qualify for the final. In the team event in this category for men, Indians finished fourth and lost out on the bronze medal with a narrow margin. The Indians totaled 1704- 39x, very close to the bronze medalist Vietnamese team, whose score was 1704-41x. China got the silver with 1746-67x points and South Korea ran away with the gold collecting 1747-45x points.
India’s men and women had a scattered show in many events on Wednesady. In Sepaktakraw, India lost to Thailand 0-3 in the Preliminary Men’s Team Group A match; in team squash for women, India defeated Pakistani women 3-0; in men’s basketball, India lost 41-76 against Iran; in women’s hockey, India lost to China 1-2. India’s boxer Akhil Kumar showed his dominance in 60kg while Shiv Thapa also entered the next round in the 56 kg category by a walk over. India lost to Thailand in women’s volleyball, 19-25, 12-25, 11-25. In women’s individual badminton, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu won their Round of 32 matches. India’s team of Sangram Singh, Fouaad Mirza, Mrityunjay Sinh Rathore and Ajai Appachu Poovaiah finished fourth in equestrian’s evening team dressage; in swimming Sandeep Sejwal failed to qualify for men’s 100m breaststroke final and the 4×100 relay men’s team ended at a dismal 7th place. India’s woman gymnast Dipa Karmakar made it to Women’s Vault Final despite finishing 10th in the individual all-round final of artistic gymnastics on Tuesday.
India slipping to 15th spot in the medal’s tally was very discouraging but the real reason is a complete lack of a naturalized sports environment in India. Other Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea have sports built-in their schooling system and that is the reason why their athletes win medals in international competitions. In most schools in these countries, Martial arts, gymnastics, swimming and athletics are part of regular fitness regimes. Indians, on the other hand, cannot think beyond cricket when the term, sports is mentioned.