Indian Archer Atanu Das directed his arrows superbly to sail into the round of sixteen in men’s recurve event of archery on Tuesday. On the same day, Indian pugilist Vikas Krishan Yadav also cruised into the round of 16 in men’s 75-kg middleweight boxing. Vikas defeated USA’s Charles Cornell in a unanimous decision. In men’s hockey, India held off a late surge from Argentina to win 2-1 and jumped to the no.2 spot in Group B. With two games left against the Netherlands and Canada, India can hope for a quarterfinal berth, if they beat Canada and force at least a draw against the Dutch. However, Tuesday also brought some disappointment as Heena Sidhu finished 20th in women’s 25m Pistol event to go out of the medal reckoning and Dattu Bhokanal crashed out at quarterfinal stage by finishing fourth in men’s Single Sculls event in rowing.
Atanu Das showed his tenacity in men’s individual archery on Tuesday during a match against Cuba’s Adrian Andres Puentes Perez. It was the narrowest win for the Indian, who edged out Puentes 139-135 to enter the event’s 1/8 eliminators round or the quarterfinals. This is the same event, in which Korea’s Kim Woo-jin had set a world and Olympic record in the ranking round on the morning of August 5, several hours before the opening ceremony. Readers can see the previous article on these pages, titled; “Six World and Eleven Olympic Records Broken in First Two Days of 2016 Rio Olympic Games” for more details on Kim’s achievement. What didn’t find the mention in that article was Atanus’ creditable performance during the ranking event, where he finished fifth with 683 points while Kim had totaled 700. That day, the Indian archer almost went out of the event, when he was lying too low after 36 arrows. In an event, where only 72 arrows are allowed, the 24-year old Atanu displayed superb temperament in the next half by producing 23 perfect 10s, including 10 arrows that were closest to the center. In the end, the Kolkata lad finished fifth even as Kim broke the world record with 700 points. The second placed archer USA’s Brady Ellison was second on 690, Italian David Pasqualuccid third with 685, Netherlands’ Sjef Van Den Berg fourth at 684 and Atanu fifth, just a point behind. Kim’s world record doesn’t automatically translate into gold or any other medal, since he still needs to keep his level of performance on upper keel in following rounds and Atanu has a great chance if he performs as well as did on August 5.
In good news for India, Vikas Krishan entered the round-of-sixteen in men’s 75kg middleweight boxing by outplaying USA’s Charles Cornell. Right from the start, Vikas had a clear advantage over the American with his composed demeanor and superior height. He smartly dodged the punches thrown at him by Cornell and managed his own punches to good effect. After the first two rounds went in Vikas’ favor, Cornell looked in trouble since he needed to do something dramatic to turn the tide in his favor. That didn’t happen and the Indian went into the round-of-sixteen with a 3-0 score in his favor. For a place in the quarterfinal, Vikas will have to beat Turkey’s Onder Sipal in his next bout on Saturday August 13.
In men’s hockey, India registered their second victory in a Group B match against Argentina. Just 24 hours earlier, India had lost to Germany in the last 3 seconds of the match but against Argentina, they played very well. They took the lead in the first quarter, when Chinglensana converted India’s second penalty corner. Though the second quarter remained goalless, India went to half time with a 1-0 lead. They doubled their lead in the third quarter when Kothajit Singh found a loose ball and banged it into the goal. However, the Argentinians entered the fourth quarter with a vengeance and dominated play for most part. After reducing the deficit to 2-1 from a penalty corner early, Argentina were all over the Indian territory in a bid to find the equalizer. With a few minutes left in the match, Argentina forced three penalty corners but PR Sreejesh and other defenders managed to avert the late surge by their feisty opponents. After surviving these last dangerous minutes, India walked off to a 2-1 victory.
India’s two setbacks on Tuesday came from shooting and rowing. Heena Sidhu performed poorly in women’s 25m pistol event. In a strong field, Heena’s wayward aiming in the 30-shot precision round, affected her point accumulation and sent her standing low down. Later in rapid fire segment of 30 shots, Heena continued to miss and finished 20th with 576 points out of 600. India’s lone competitor in rowing Dattu Baban Bhokanal also went out of the reckoning as he finished fourth in the quarter-finals of the men’s single sculls. In two minor non-sporting events on Tuesday, India’s lone entry in artistic gymnastics, Deepa Karmakar celebrated her birthday and India’s newly elected IOC member Nita Ambani visited the shooting range to watch Jitu Rai in action. However, Jitu couldn’t make the grade and went out of contention.