Indian archer Atanu Das raised hopes of a medal after entering the men’s individual 1/8 eliminators while the men’s hockey team also edged closer to quarter-final qualification with their second win in three pool matches at the Rio Olympics here on Tuesday.
Boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav also gave the Indian fans much to cheer about with a dominant victory over Charles Conwell of the US to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the men’s Middleweight (75kg) category.
Das won a very close fought contest 139-135 over Cuba’s Adrian Andres Puentes Perez at the Rio Olympics while a gritty Indian hockey team won by a narrow 2-1 margin against Argentina in Pool B.
Chinglensana (8th minute) and Kothajit Khadangbam (35th) were the scorers for India. Gonzalo Peillat (49th) reduced the margin for Argentina at the Olympic Hockey Stadium.
It is India’s second win in three Pool B matches, after beating Ireland 3-2 and getting beaten by Germany 1-2.
Both teams started off on a cautious note but it was India’s S.V. Sunil and Ramandeep, who first made a clinical penetrations inside the Argentine defence to take first penalty corner of the match in the opening minutes.
Success came few minutes later when the India got their second penalty corner as Chinglensana fired them into the lead with a powerful strike.
India went into half time leading 1-0.
Argentine players came out stronger after half time but it was India who scored in the initial minutes as Kothajit Khadangbam scored a field goal in the 35th minute of the third quarter to make it 2-0.
Argentina proved superior the last quarter and reduced the margin with 10 minutes still to play but India hung on to seal the victory.
Later, Vikas gave India’s boxing campaign a rousing start, thrashing his US opponent at the Riocentrio Pavilion here.
The Indian outpunched the 18-year-old Conwell by a unanimous decision in the Round of 32 bout with all three judges ruling 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 in favour of the Haryana boxer here on Tuesday.
Vikas will now face Onder Sipal of Turkey in the pre-quarterfinals.
The former Asian Games champion from Hisar district of Haryana was by far the superior boxer through all the three rounds and hardly broke sweat against the young Conwell who was appearing in his maiden Olympics.
Vikas dominated the opening round with powerful shots to the body and a couple to the face as well. The American kept his head low and absorbed the Indian’s punches as most of Vikas’ attempted punches to the face landed on top of his head.
The American did land a few body punches of his own but he was totally outgunned by the pugilist from Haryana.
Vikas displayed superior footwork and defence which coupled with his height advantage ensured that most of Conwell’s attempted jabs to the face could only brush the top of his head.
At the end of the first round, all three judges ruled 10-9, 10-9, 10-9 in favour of the Indian.
Vikas was more relaxed in the second round, sitting back and forcing the American to work harder. He seemed to have the measure of his opponent, relying on his counterpunching style to punch holes in his opponent’s defence time and again.
The 24-year-old from the Haryana Police landed quite a few punches to the body and face of Conwell, clearly outclassing the American with his speed and excellent combinations.
In the second round, two of the judges gave all 10 points to Vikas while the third judge gave him nine points.
Comwel was more aggressive in the final round as Vikas focused more on preserving his lead. The American produced a much better show in the closing stages, but it proved to be too little too late.
In archery, the best of five sets encounter between Das and Perez lived up to its billing. But Das showed more composure and focus to edge out his opponent 28-26, 29-26, 26-27, 27-28, 29-28 at the Sambodromo.
The fight between the two inspired opponents was very tight.
Das grabbed a two set lead hitting three perfect 10 shots out of his first six attempts when Adrian managed two.
But the Cuban managed a turnaround hitting two consecutive 10s in the fourth set two make it two sets each.
But in the all important final set, Das kept his focus intact and hit two successive 10s to confirm the contest in his favour.
Das will next face South Korea’s Seungyun Lee in the 1/8 Eliminators on Friday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Das beat Nepal’s Jitbahadur Muktan 88-76 in the pre-quarterfinals.
Das began on a booming note, winning the first three of the best of five sets 29-26, 29-24, 30-26.
But not all was rosy for India as rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal failed to enter the medal round, finishing fourth in his men’s singles sculls quarter-finals to be placed 15th in the overall standings.
He started in Lane 5 in the fourth quarter-final and ended the race fourth among six rowers at the Lagoa Stadium.
Four sets quarter-finals were conducted, each with six rowers. The first three rowers of each set of quarters (12 in total) qualified for the semi-final A/B.
The remaining three rowers of each set (12 in total) qualified for the semi-final C/D.
Bhokanal finished the 2000 metre mark with a time of 6.59.89. His C/D semi-final, for determination of the 13th-18th position in the standings, is on Wednesday.
Shooter Heena Sidhu failed to qualify for the medal round finishing 21st among 40 competitors in the the 25 metre women’s Pistol qualification round.
She totalled 576 after the precision (286) and rapid (290)stages.
Heena finished a lowly 30th after the precision stage and fared just a bity better in the rapid stage but it wasn’t enough for qualification.
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