"After a sensational start when Sandeep Singh converted a second minute penalty corner, INDIA faded away as the Kiwis came storming back with goals by Andrew Hayward -, Phillip Burrows - and Nicolas Wilson -, and then nursed the lead to the end."
By Sarat C.Das

London, Aug 1 - Parupalli Kashyap scripted history by becoming the first Indian male shuttler to enter the singles quarterfinals at Olympics, but fancied archer Deepika Kumari suffered an opening round loss while the hockey team stumbled to their second back-to-back defeat at the London Games here on a scandal-hit Wednesday.

Indian boxer Manoj Kumar also reached the pre-quarterfinals in the 64kg class with an emphatic victory over Serdar Hudayberdiyev of Turkmenistan late Tuesday night. The 25-year-old was in control throughout the bout as he registered an easy 13-7 win.

The 25-year-old Kashyap won a tough match 21-14, 15-21, 21-9, against Sri Lankan Niluka Karunaratne at the Wembley Arena to go one up on the previous best performance by Dipankar Bhattarcharjee in the 1992 Barcelona Games where he lost in the third round.

In the first game, Kashyap rallied back after being 1-6 down to draw parity at 7-7 and then went from strength to strength to pocket the first set in 20 minutes.

The Sri Lankan came back strongly in the second game, opening up an 11-3 lead, and raced to the game point -. Kashyap fought back to reel off eight points but then lost taking the tie into the decider.

The third game saw a neck-and-neck fight for supremacy till 5-all when Kashyap took off. With his court-craft and deft work at the net, there was no stopping the Pullela Gopichand protege and Karunaratene could not keep pace with the Indian.

A stream of unforced errors by the Sri Lankan saw Kashyap cantering to a 16-7 lead and thereafter it was a matter of time before the World No.21 raised his arms in triumph.

Kashyap now faces a tougher challenge in the last eight as he will either meet top seed and Beijing Games silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia or Indonesian's World No.6 Simon Santoso.

A little after Kashyap took the court, a scandal broke out with the organisers disqualifying eight women badminton players from the doubles event for throwing matches to get a favourable opponent.

The pairs are: Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China; Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia; Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na of South Korea; and Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung, also of South Korea.

The Chinese World Champion duo of Wang and Yu and their South Korean rivals Jung and Kim were jeered and booed by the crowd Tuesday after hitting serves into the net and striking easy shots long or wide.

The umpire and the referee warned all the four players, but the situation didn't change. The Chinese women eventually lost 14-21, 11-21 and as a result they would not meet their compatriots until the final.

The farce was repeated in the next game between South Korea's Ha and Kim and Indonesia's Jauhari and Polii. Both teams were also warned for deliberately trying to lose.

The Indian pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who narrowly missed a quarter final berth by finishing third in their group, lodged a formal complaint, though the qualified players were not in the same group along with the Indian duo.

We are not sure what the scenario is right now. We are waiting for the decision and we hope to make it to the quarters. As far as I know, the officials are discussing the issue and we will get to know in some time, Ashwini told IANS.

At the Lords ground, India's disastrous archery campaign came to an unceremonious end with world number one Deepika Kumari suffering a shock defeat in the opening women's individual elimination round.

Jharkhand girl Deepika, rated as India's biggest medal prospect going into the Olympics, was shown the door by Amy Oliver of Great Britain, who won 6-2.

The 18-year-old's loss completes India's misery in the London Games where four of the six-member contingent of archers fell flat in the opening individual round. Both the men's and women's teams also stumbled at the first hurdle.

On the hockey turf, New Zealand chalked up a 3-1 win over India who thus slid to their second defeat in as many matches.

After a sensational start when Sandeep Singh converted a second minute penalty corner, INDIA faded away as the Kiwis came storming back with goals by Andrew Hayward -, Phillip Burrows - and Nicolas Wilson -, and then nursed the lead to the end.

In shooting, Indian girls Rahi Sarnobat and Annu Raj Singh finished at lowly 19th and 30th respectively to bow out at the qualification stage.


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