London, July 29 (IANS) Olympic first-timers Parupalli Kashyap and Soumyajit Ghosh brought cheers to the Indian camp on an otherwise dismal day as the country's other sportspersons stumbled at the first hurdle of the Olympic Games here Saturday.
Shuttler Kashyap and paddler Ghosh managed to win their first round battles on a day when their teammates in badminton and table tennis disappointed alongside those in archery, shooting, weightlifting, rowing, tennis and boxing.
Kashyap seemed in great touch as he sped past Belgian Yuhan Tan 21-14, 21-12 in a 38-minute Group D match at the Wembley Arena to move to the second round.
Kashyap's win made up for the tame loss of mixed doubles pair Jwala Gutta and V. Diju, who went down to Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsi in straight games in their opening group match 16-21, 12-2.
There was bad news on the women's doubles front also as the combination of Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa were thrashed 16-21, 18-21 by the Japanese duo of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa.
Both the mixed doubles and women's doubles teams would need to win their next two group matches to qualify for the knockouts.
Nineteen-year-old Ghosh kept India's table tennis challenge alive as he moved into the second round of the main draw beating Brazilian Gustavo Tsuboi 4-2 (11-9, 14-12, 7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10) in a 40-minute close contest.
"I should have pushed him hard, but he was good. My shots and serves worked well today. I am happy I have progressed well," said Ghosh, who will take on Matiss Burgis of Latvia in round two.
Earlier, the country's other paddler Ankita Das paid the penalty for making too many unforced errors to bow out of the women's singles competition with a 1-4 (9-11 8-11 7-11 11-8 and 2-11) loss over the higher ranked Sara Ramirez of Spain in round one.
But it was the much-hyped men's archery team which began the gloomy procession in the morning at the iconic Lords cricket ground. The troika of Rahul Banerjee, Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai made a sound start but could not retain the momentum as they failed to deliver in crunch situations to finally go down to Japan in a tie-break.
Both teams were tied 214-214 after the stipulated four rounds in the opening elimination round at the Lord's Cricket Ground.
The Japanese team comprising Yu Ishizu, Hideki Kikuchi and Takaharu Furukaw held their nerves to shoot two tens and a nine in the shoot-out. In reply, the Indian trio of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai could manage only 27 points by shooting three nines.
The Indians, however, could have clinched the tie in the fourth round itself had Rahul Banerjee managed to bring home ten points off the final arrow. But he could manage only nine, which pushed the clash to the tie-break. Rai, who hit the previous Indian arrow, also got a poor eight, and in the end these two poor efforts crushed the team's chances.
The saga of failures stretched to the historic Wimbledon grass court, with the Indian women's doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakarvarthi getting knocked out of the tennis competition with a 1-6, 6-3, 1-6 defeat to Chia-Jung Chuang and Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in the opening round.
The boxing ring saw the country's young medal hope Shiva Thapa biting the dust at the first hurdle in men's 56kg category of the Excel Arena. The 18-year-old, the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympics, saw his dream crushed by Mexican Oscar Valdez Fierro, who won 14-9.
In the power sports of weight lifting, women's 48 kg competitor Soniya Ngangbam Chanu had to be satisfied with the seventh spot with a total haul of 171 kgs (74 kg in snath and 97 kg in clean and jerk).
The country's campaign also floundered at the range, from where there has been much pre-Games talk of attaining medal successes. Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar finished way down at the 31st slot in the qualification round garnering only 570 points, thereby failing to reach the final of the men's 10metre air pistol event.
In rowing, Swarn Singh Virk failed to qualify for the quarterfinal of the men's single sculls after he finished fifth with a timing of 6:54.04 in heat 1. The Indian, however, has qualified for the repechage round that kept alive his hopes.
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