Rio 2016 Olympics India’s Day 2 preview: As expected, the Olympic Games started with a bang with athletes giving their utmost best to ensure a good result to put themselves in the best possible position to grab a medal and create history. There were other not so good news in the fact that a bomb scare hit the Games as well as a gunshot rang out sending a bullet into a media enclosure – there was even a horrific leg break. But the attention of the world stayed firmly on the Games. While the first gold medal was won by US’ 19-year-old Virginia Thrasher with her final shot super-human effort in the shooting event for the women’s 10m air rifle title. For India there was good news in the fact that the Hockey team won against the Irish, but the rest, starting with Jitu Rai, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza were a disappointment. But that was day 1 and today a new one dawns with a number of high profile Indian athletes set to take to the field.
The Indian athletes, figuring from day 1, look focussed on the job and have gone about their games with customary efficiency. But what they lack at the moment is the fact they are not pumped-up enough. They seem to lack in confidence. After so many practice games and so many years spent in preparing for this final Olympic outing, this is a surprise. The confidence in other nations’ athletes is palpable. They are signalling that they have come to this arena to win and they will make sure that if they lack in talent, they will make it up with a fantastic display all due to the confidence factor. A big lesson for Indians here. In contrast, the Indian hockey team, which is streets ahead of the Irish team in every department, except perhaps in muscle strength, was a pale shadow in terms of confidence. And yet the Irish almost got a draw as they kept trying to breach the Indian walls. By the time the encounter ended, it was clear the Irish would have got their equaliser as the Indian shoulders had drooped and they clung on to win 3:2.
While no one can blame Leander Paes or Sania Mirza for lacking in confidence, after all they have won the top tennis titles in the world, yet they never got into their stride at the Games with so much to play for. Whether it was politics or something troubling them is unclear, but this was really not the best that these top class athletes are capable of. That Leander reacted with fury at a press conference was another downer.
So, will the Indian contingent rise above day 1 and really perform out of its skin on day 2? To catch the action, here is a preview of what the Olympic Games have in store for you:
Indian women’s hockey team takes to the field at 19:30 hrs IST. While this is the team’s first outing in Olympics after almost four decades, and it is coming up against a higher ranked Japanese opponent which is fitter, swifter and has much better experience, the Indian girls will have to play at their best to be able to emerge as winners. The Japanese girls are very systematic and cover the ground very well, but the Indian girls can outmatch them if they are able to keep their game together and dominate them with their skill. In fact, skill is the only asset that India has on its side in this encounter.
Before that, the Indian women’s team will step out for the archery contest (Elimination & Finals), which starts at 17:30 hrs IST & 01:09 hrs IST. The Indian presence at the Games is marked by Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi. All of them will be aiming to qualify further for the finals and then try to put themselves in medal winning positions. The team has the necessary experience and it remains to be seen how far they have got used to the conditions.
Later at night the women gymnastics events will be held. These start at 23:00 hrs IST. Gymnastics and India don’t go very well together as it requires tremendous strength in terms of muscles as well as flexibility to go through the punishing set of routines. The Indian physique is not really suited for it, but the very fact that India has marked its presence there shows the rapid strides the country is making. Fans of the Indian contingent must get together and root for Dipa Karmakar as she sets her campaign into motion to qualify for the finals. Some of the events to be held today are women’s uneven bars, women’s floor exercises, women’s beam, women’s vault and women’s individual all-round.
The shooting events started badly for India with Jitu Rai failing to win any medal for India. On day 2 the Trap Qualification (Men) event starts at 18:00 hrs IST. We have the experienced Manavjit Singh Sandhu and rising star Kynan Chenai stepping out and they have the necessary experience to hold out lots of hope for their fans in the men’s trap event.
Another Indian team that will be seen in action today is in Shooting – Women: 10 m Air Pistol (Qualification & Finals) events. The show starts at 17:30 hrs IST & 19:30 hrs IST. Indian shooters have bothered the best marksmen in the world over the years with the quality of their performances. This time is expected to be no different. If anything, in this Olympic Games, the country is expecting them to surmount all hurdles and come back with a clutch of medals. The team has quality enough to go all the way with the former world No. 1 and current record holder Heena Sidhu leading from the front. She will strive for a medal in women’s 10m air pistol event.