Vijender through to round of 16
London, July 29: India’s strong medal contender Vijender Singh sailed into the pre-quarter final in the men’s middleweight (75 kg) boxing competition with a clinical 14-10 win over Danabek Suzhanov of Kazakhstan at the London Olympics here on Saturday.
Vijender, who became the country’s first ever Olympic medal winner in boxing by grabbing the bronze in the Beijing Games four years back, seemed confident as he let in some lethal punches to pierce the defence of his rival.
The Indian led in each of the rounds, though the Kazakh fighter also landed a few good blows at the Excel arena.
Egged on by the vociferous crowd of expatriate Indians, Vijender opened up a 5-4 lead in the opening round, despite missing a few good scoring chances.
The Indian kept his composure in the next round, notwithstanding Suzhanov’s bid to overturn the script and widened the gulf to 9-7. Of special mention was a lightning left hook followed by a right uppercut unleashed by the Indians, both of which proved productive.
Down by two points, Suzhanov tried to go on the offensive in the third round, but Vijender was more than equal to the task as he took a further 5-3 lead to consolidate his position and end the bout on a triumphant note. Agencies
Saina begins medal bid on strong note
LONDON, July 29: India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal made a rousing start to her bid for an Olympic medal as she spanked Swiss Sabrina Jaquet in straight games in a lop-sided women’s singles group stage opening match on Sunday.
The world number five Indian was too good for the 65th ranked Swiss as she took just 22 minutes to complete a 21-9 21-4 victory at the Wembley arena here.
Sabrina, who had qualified for the Games by reaching the quarter finals of the 2012 European Championship in Karlskrona, Sweden, could not provide any resistance to Saina, who launched her campaign on a dominating note.
The 22-year-old Indian, who came into the tournament after winning the Thailand Grand Prix Gold and Indonesian Super Series Premium last month, took 12 minutes to wrap up the first match, before sealing the issue in her favour by winning the second game in just 10 minutes.
Such was the domination of the Indian that Sabrina was reduced to a bystander as the Indian kept lapping up her points in quick succession. The girl from Hyderabad led by a massive 12 and 17 points in the first and second game respectively.
Saina, who had reached the quarterfinals in her Olympic debut at the Beijing Games four years ago, will take on Lianne Tan of Belgium in another group E match on Monday. Agencies
Jai Bhagwan storms into pre-quarterfinals
LONDON, July29: Indian boxer Jai Bhagwan produced a dominating performance to storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the lightweight (60kg) category in the Olympics on Sunday.
Participating in his maiden Olympics at the age of 26, Bhagwan, was in complete control of the bout from the onset as he thrashed his opponent Andrique Allisop of Seychelles 18-8 in the opening round at the Excel arena.
Bhagwan enjoyed a better reach because of his height and technically also the Indian was far superior to his Seychelles opponent.
Bhagwan was equally sound in defense as well as attack and took control over the proceedings with identical scorelines of 7-3 in the first two rounds. Allisop tried his best to get a hold over the bout but Bhagwan was clever enough to deny his opponent any ground. Leading 14-6 in the third round, Bhagwan adopted a cautious approach but never let go his grip over the bout pocketing the decider with a 4-2 margin.
Bhagwan will now face Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan in the pre-quarterfinals. Agencies
Lucky Vardhan to play tennis singles too
London, July 29: Indian tennis player Vishnu Vardhan Sunday has got a lucky place in the men’s singles draw replacing German Philipp Kohlschreiber who pulled out of the Olympics with a hamstring injury.
Kohlschreiber pulled out shortly after losing the Kitsbuhel final to Dutchman Robin Haase in Austria Saturday.
Vardhan, who is partnering Leander Paes in the men’s doubles, was given a slot in the singles draw because he was placed high in the doubles draw.
The 25-year-old Indian will face Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic in the first round Sunday. Later in the day he will also tie up with 1996 Bronze medallist Leander Paes to play the men’s doubles.
Vardhan was lucky to find a place in the Indian Olympic tennis squad after Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna revolted against the All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) decision to pair them with Paes. IANS
Rower Swarn Singh in quarters
LONDON, July29: Rower Swarn Singh held off a late challenge from his South Korean rival Kim Dongyong to win the single sculls repechage round and book a berth in the last eight in the London Olympic Games on Sunday.
Swran, who had to compete in the repechage round after finishing fourth in the heats yesterday, clocked 7:00.49 to complete the 2-km distance, winning the five-man race by more than a boat length, at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre.
The 23-year-old from Punjab had clocked 6:54.04 in the heats yesterday. Kim, who clocked 7:03.91 to finish second, also made it to the quarterfinals which will be held on Tuesday.
Swarn led the five-rower race from the start itself and only Kim gave him competition while the others fell behind.
In the last 500m, Kim made a last-ditch effort to catch up with Swarn, but the Indian not only held off the challenge but also stretched the lead to win the race by one-and-a-half boat length. Agencies