India is still searching for a gold medal as the Olympic Games enter the second week
India at the Olympics has always been about feverish hopes, bruising anguish and a few medals. Since its debut at the Games in 1900, the world’s second most populous nation has ended up with either a single-digit tally or none at all. That familiar tale is being repeated a week after the Tokyo Olympics commenced and India is currently assured of three medals. One, a silver claimed by weight-lifter Mirabai Chanu in the 49kg category. And second, a minimum of a bronze guaranteed as boxer Lovlina Borgohain qualified for the semifinal in the welter-weight segment. The bout will be held on Wednesday. Badminton star P.V. Sindhu too joined the party, seizing her bronze after defeating China’s He Bingjiao 21-13, 21-15 during Sunday’s third-place play-off. Through their exploits Mirabai and Lovlina, hailing from Manipur and Assam, respectively, have revealed the rich sporting ability shimmering in the North-eastern States linked to the mainland through the chicken’s neck above Bangladesh. Mirabai and Lovlina owe their triumphs to their innate strength and hard work besides the obvious support from family and the Sports Authority of India. With Sindhu, they have also reiterated women-power. Sindhu, who won the silver at the previous Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, had an exceptional run till she ran into Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-Ying in the semifinal and then made amends with a bronze.
India had a moment to savour when its women’s hockey team entered the quarterfinals. While a strong Australian outfit awaits in the knockout on Monday, the women will add to India’s evergreen hockey-hopes that gained a fillip after the men defeated Great Britain 3-1 during Sunday’s quarterfinal. After the 1980 gold, the men’s quest to win another Olympic medal has gained impetus and the road ahead is tough but interesting. In the limited chronicle of good tidings, Kamalpreet Kaur’s excellent throw of 64 metres in the discus throw event was a spark. Kamalpreet qualified for Monday’s final and a lot is resting on her shoulders. While these stirring events kept India afloat, there is also the litany of heart-breaks that included Mary Kom’s loss in boxing, a fact the 38-year-old failed to initially admit following her adrenaline rush. The travails in shooting and archery did not add up to the original template of good form and resultant expectations. Shooters Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker had their moments but they were not enough. The Games exert immense pressure as it is always about the athlete combining individual excellence with national pride. Tennis champion Novak Djokovic failed to even win a bronze while gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from events citing mental fatigue. It is never easy and the Indian contingent would vouch for that going into the second week.