Rio: Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth’s entry into the quarter-finals kept India’s medal hopes alive as the athletes continued to cut a sorry figure while wrestler Ravinder Khatri also flopped in his bout at the Rio Olympics here on Monday.
World No.11 Srikanth continued his rollicking form to register a 21-19, 21-19 triumph in 42 minutes over world No.5 Jan O Jorgensen in the pre-quarterfinal tie at Rio Centrio.
In a hard fought first game, both shuttlers started on an attacking note but it was Srikanth who managed to maintain the lead with some bodyline smashes.
Jorgensen, bronze medallist in the 2014 World Championships, gave a tough fight at the end but it was the Guntur lad who proved superior to clinch the first game 21-19.
In the second game, the Denmark player upped the ante and played a disciplined game to maintain the lead from the start.
But with some swift court movements, the Indian diminished the lead to stay at 17-17 and then took a one-point lead to make it 19-18 before wrapping up the game to advance into the quarter-finals.
Srikanth had entered the pre-quarterfinals after topping Group H. In quarters, he will face the tough task of beating two-time defending champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan of China.
Meanwhile, it was heartbreak for the athletes who endured another dismal day at the Games.
Lalita Babbar, competing in an individual track event for the first time since P.T. Usha in 1984, finished 10th in the final of the women’s 3,000 metre steeplechase.
Lalita clocked nine minutes and 22.74 seconds — nearly three seconds behind her national record timing in the water and barrier race — at the Olympic Stadium.
The Maharashtra athlete was inside the top eight competitors midway but was not able to push as much as she would have liked to towards the closing laps.
More disappointment was in store from the track and field events as Srabani Nanda failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the women’s 200 metres after finishing 55th among 72 athletes in Round 1.
Srabani clocked 23.58 seconds at the Olympic Stadium, way below topper Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Talou (22.31 seconds).
In men’s triple jump, Renjith Maheshwary finished a disappointing 30th to crash out of the qualification stage.
Competing in his second Olympics, Maheshwary found himself at the 11th spot in the qualifiers, after an effort of 15.80 metres in his first attempt, which was way short of the qualification mark.
In the second attempt, the Indian jumped 16.13m, which still was short of the qualification mark of 16.95m. Placed at the 23rd spot, he was under pressure to hit the qualification mark in the final attempt.
He could just manage a jump of 15.99 in the third and final attempt to negate any chances of qualifying for the final round.
To add salt to the wounds, wrestler Ravinder Khatri lost to Hungary’s Viktor Lorincz by technical superiority in the men’s Greco-Roman 85kg 1/8 finals.
The 24-year-old Indian failed to provide any resistance during a 0-9 loss to the World Championship bronze medallist at the Carioca Arena 2 – WR Mat B.
Khatri started the first round poorly as he had no answers to the 26-year-old’s moves. Leading 4-0, the Hungarian took one more point to seal the first round in two minutes and 55 seconds.
Lorincz then sealed his place at the 1/4 finals, effecting a huge take-down to gain four more points.