Saina outclassed in semis, in hunt for bronze

LONDON: Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal was totally outclassed today by her superior opponent Yihan Wang and lost tamely in the Olympic Games semi-finals to the Chinese world no. 1 but would fight it out for the bronze medal tomorrow with Yihan’s compatriot Xin Wang.

The 22-year-old Indian won 13 points each in the two games that she lost to the Chinese top seed in the 42-minute match at the Wembley Arena, much to the disappointment of the Indian supporters who outshouted their Chinese counterparts, and later conceded that her opponent was “too fast” for her.

World no. 5 Saina, the first Indian to reach the semi-finals of the Olympics in the shuttle game can still win the bronze if she could outsmart world no. 2 Xin Wang, who was defeated by compatriot Li Xuerui in a closely fought second semi-final 22-20, 21-18, in the play-off.

However, star Indian boxer Vijender Singh inched closer to an unprecedented second successive Olympic medal by entering the middleweight (75kg) quarter-finals with a thrilling one-point triumph over American Terrell Gausha at the ExCel Arena late last night.

The 26-year-old Indian, a bronze-medalist from the Beijing Olympic Games, is just one win away from being assured of another medal at the big event after he scraped past Gausha with a 16-15 verdict in a thrilling contest of skill and strategy.

Elsewhere, India’s sole medal winner in the London Games, Gagan Narang, failed to repeat the show and could not advance to the finals of the men’s 50m prone event for which his compatriot Joydeep Karmakar qualified through a shoot-off after tying with eight others in joint fourth spot.

Narang, who just four days ago became the country’s first medal winner at the London Games, could fire just 593 out of 600 to finish a shocking 18th in a field of 50 competitors and lost a great chance of another podium finish.

However, Karmakar kept India in the hunt by finishing with 595 points and then 51.6 in the shoot off at the Royal Artillery Barracks. –PTI

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