Tokyo Olympics 2020: Day after silver medal, Indians left searching for silver linings among debacles-Sports News , Firstpost

While Manu’s elimination could be explained away as an equipment error, the rest of the big-name defeats led coaches to look for silver linings amid the typhoon.

Manu Bhaker of India was unlucky in the 10m air pistol qualifications as her pistol was broken during the match and she lost more than twenty minutes during the sixty-minute match. AP

There are fears that Typhoon Nepartak may be headed for the Japanese capital and is likely to interrupt some events of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. A day after Mirabai Chanu’s silver medal in women’s weightlifting on Saturday, the campaigns of some Indian top athletes were hit by a metaphorical typhoon on Day 2 of the Tokyo Olympics.

The day started with an equipment malfunction afflicting Manu Bhaker’s qualifying round in the 10m air pistol event at the Asaka Shooting Ranges and ended with Indian men’s hockey team being handed a 1-7 defeat by Australia at the Oi Hockey Stadium’s North Pitch 40 kilometres away. In between, India’s top-ranked paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was ousted by World No 95 Lam Siu Hang, a man 57 spots below him. The Indian let slip a 3-1 lead. Boxer Manish Kaushik too was headed home by evening after being eliminated at the hands of Britain’s Luke McCormack.

The only two Olympic medallists in India’s contingent to Tokyo — Rio 2016 silver-medallist shuttler PV Sindhu and London 2012 bronze winning boxer Mary Kom — were the only bright spots of Day 2, besides Manika Batra stunning the World No 32 Margaryta Pesotska.

At the Asaka Shooting Ranges there was drama aplenty with a malfunctioning gun throwing Manu’s hopes of qualifying for the final of the first of her three events at Tokyo into a tizzy. A couple of hours later, Divyansh and Deepak Kumar joined her and Yashaswini Singh Deswal. Divyansh, who averages 629 in competitions and scores in the 630s in training, could manage only 622.8. There were six shots in the nines for young Divyansh, including three consecutive ones in the third series. His scores perked up in the fifth and sixth series, but by then it was too late.

While Manu’s elimination could be explained away as an equipment error, the rest of the big-name defeats led coaches to look for silver linings amid the typhoon.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Day after silver medal Indians left searching for silver linings among debacles

Heartbreak for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran as he was ousted in the first round of the men’s singles table tennis match. AP

“Usually shooters grow from such experiences,” Deepali Deshpande, who is a rifle coach with the Indian team, told Firstpost on Sunday. “Now they (young shooters like Divyansh) have seen that everybody in the Olympics is as normal as them. That nervousness is gone today.”

Deshpande reasoned that the fact that all four of India’s shooting prodigies — Divyansh, Elavenil, Manu and Saurabh—are to compete in the mixed team events in the next few days, which will help them get out of the way of their own minds and avoid the paralysis of analysis. Usually, single-discipline shooters, after such losses, build up the Olympics into a bigger deal than it is, a mental sinkhole that keeps getting bigger as the days become months and months stretch into years.

But now they will have another shot at Olympic glory literally a few days after their first heartbreak, rather than a four-year wait to prove themselves, which can complicate matters.

“It always helps when they are shooting two events. The initial anxiety goes away in the first event. It usually helps (to have played at an Olympics),” said Deshpande.

She pointed out how Divyansh had shot poorly at the first and second trials after the lockdown but had recovered. “It was the first event after corona, and he didn’t know what to do. Haath pair kaap rahe the (His hands and legs were shivering). But the next day, he was at his best.”

That’s the hope now amid the shooters and their coaches. “It does help to compete in multiple events. Divyansh was under tremendous pressure. That’s gone now. Day after they will shoot with much more ease and better focus. They will be themselves,” said Deshpande.

Elsewhere, the scoreline was equally chastising. There’s no shame in losing to Australia, but to lose 1-7 was a bodyblow.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Day after silver medal Indians left searching for silver linings among debacles

Indian men’s hockey team who lost 1-7 to Australia, making it one of the worst shows by Indians in country’s Olympic history. AP

“We had chances at the start. We couldn’t convert. They had chances at the start, they scored,” summed up India skipper Manpreet Singh. “That’s how it is when you play good teams. This was a learning lesson for us. These are the Olympics. There are no easy matches. No one gives you anything on a platter. You have to fight for everything.”

The fight for Graham Reid in the aftermath of the defeat is to get them to focus ahead.

“I thought in that third quarter we got the tempo going. We got pressure on their possessions. I thought Indians fought till the very end, and that’s what I was proud of. We were still creating opportunities in that last quarter. The other really positive thing is that we created as many as them, they just put theirs in the goal. The key thing is that Indians kept pushing, they kept working, they kept fighting. And that’s what I will be focussing on,” said Reid.

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