The women’s hockey team’s perseverance was rewarded with a first Olympic quarter-final berth in over four decades, while discus thrower Kamalpreet Singh rose from relative obscurity to be in contention for a medal but it was a bad day in office for the stars of Indian contingent on Saturday.
Outplayed in their first three games, Rani Rampal’s team hung in there by beating South Africa 4-3 in their final group engagement and their prayers for a favourable result in the other group match were answered when defending champions Great Britain defeated Ireland 2-0.
That result left India fourth in the group, and set them up for a clash against Australia on Monday. The Indian women last made the quarters of an Olympics in 1980 Moscow edition, where it finished fourth. In the 2016 Rio edition, the team had ended 12th.
Meanwhile, World No.1 flyweight boxer Amit Panghal and star shutter P.V. Sindhu were the big names to experience defeats even though the latter is still in the hunt for a medal when she competes in the bronze playoff today. Success stories of the day were undoubtedly the women’s hockey team and Kamalpreet.
Earlier, Virender Sehwag fan Kamalpreet, who wants to play cricket some day, produced one of the best performances by an Indian track and field athlete in the Olympics.
The 25-year-old, competing in qualification B, sent the discus to a distance of 64m in her third and final attempt to be one of the only two automatic qualifiers for the final round, the other being American Valarie Allman (66.42m).
The final will be held on 2 August.