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Saina makes winning start
(IANS) / 30 July 2012
India’s champion shuttler Saina Nehwal had an easy outing and Jai Bhagwan joined his more illustrious teammate Vijender Singh in the round of 16 but the archers, paddlers and shooters fell by the wayside at the 2012 London Games here on Sunday.
Saina, India’s best bet for an Olympic medal, won her first group match against Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet in straight games in the women’s singles badminton event. The World No.5, a quarter-finalist at the Beijing Games, won 21-9, 21-4 in 24 minutes at the Wembley Arena.
In men’s boxing, Jai Bhagwan decimated Seychelles’ Andrique Allisop 18-8 into the round of 16 of the 60kg catgeory.
It was an inspiring performance by Jai Bhawan after his childhood buddy Vijender, a bronze medallist at the Beijing Games, moved into the prequarters late Saturday night beating Kazakhstan’s Danabek Suzhanov 14-10 in the first round of the 75 kg division.
Saina’s performance was the silver lining in Indian badminton after the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V.Diju jeopardised their chances of making the knockout round after suffering a second successive defeat.
The Indians, who were beaten by third-seeded Indonesian pair in the first match Saturday, lost this morning to Denmark’s Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in straight games, 12-21, 16-21, in a Group C match at the Wembley Arena.
The World No. 13 duo were no match for their eighth-ranked opponents in the first game, losing it in 13 minutes. They put up a better show in the second but it wasn’t enough to trouble the Danes.
Jwala-Diju play South Korea’s Jung Eun Ha and Yong Dae Lee in their must win final group game on Tuesday.
Shooters, who are India’s medal prospect, also misfired as Heena Sidhu and Annu Raj Singh failed to qualify for the women’s 10m air pistol finals at the 2012 Olympics here on Sunday.
Heena finished at 12th with 382 points while Annu Raj was 23rd with 378 at the Royal Artillery Barracks. A top eight finish would have taken them into the finals.
A series of nines towards the end of the final round saw Heena end just three less than Russia’s Liubov Yaskevich, who totalled 385.
Heena began the final round with five consecutive 10s, putting her in prime position for a place in the final. But a string of 9s in the next five shots meant she could only finish 12th.
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