Little too FaT…little too SkinnY

Marion-Bartoli old pic
“I am too fat for you.?”

 

bartoli slim photo
“I am too skinny for you?”

When in 2013, defying all odds, French woman Marion Bartoli won Wimbledon, she was termed as Fat, Pig and Ugly winner of the Venus Rosewater Dish. She was criticized for her serve run up as well as her mobility on court… So much so, we all remember BBC commentator John Inverdale’s sexist comments that cost him his job.

Cut to 2016, we saw an extremely thin Bartoli. Apparently she has reduced a lot of kilos  and is looking sick. So naturally, a section of social media users especially people on Twitter began to scan her, began to understand her problem and believe it or not, they understood her problem as well.. That she is Anorexic, about to die, suddenly people were worried about her health .is she sick!, OMG what is wrong with her ? , what has she done to herself? She looks pathetic and so on. So basically, when you have muscles, you are fat…And when not…you are Anorexic and sick. The breakneck speed in which we judge someone and body shame them just blows my mind. I am being honest here it is not that her appearance did not surprise me. I myself believe that there is a stark difference in her appearance from 2013 but does that give me the right to shame her? that too without knowing the reason behind it? The way social media reacted and comments that some wrote, surprised me the most. There are so many male players from different walks of sport, are they shamed like that? It is absolutely not Men vs Women issue; because I know there are so many women itself that body shames other women. It’s about understanding somebody and definitely not judging. Aren’t we told to respect everyone’s body type. Isn’t there are so many ads, and campaigns that are breaking the old shackles and teaching us to not to judge or have preconceived notions about anybody? Isn’t the beauty of human race is that everyone’s body is different and it is not the right way to measure the credentials of anyone?   By just terming some one’s body shape as “fat” or “skinny” aren’t we unnecessarily perpetuating beauty  standards? Haven’t we learnt anything?

Bartoli claimed that a virus that infected her in India is the main reason behind her weight loss and that she has been undergoing blood transfusion to survive. Whatever may be the reason, body shaming in any case is not acceptable. I am surprised that so many players from different sport have been subjected to it. Tennis legend Serena Williams has faced it all. Her built has been a topic of cheap laughter among audiences. The most surprising part was the fact that “her eyebrows are so bushy” was inevitably  trending on twitter when she won her 21st Grand Slam. The unfortunate fact is there is a  stark difference of how women players should be like is not limited to spectators or commentators. The shaming is seen even in higher officials and so called intellectual people.

I remember a Tennis great  calling Daniela Hantchova too skinny to play a power pact game for longer duration and cited it the main reason for her losses in the matches that are stretched to three sets. Perhaps he did not know, calling someone skinny is as insulting as calling someone a nigro.

Bethanie Mattek Sands’ colorful attire too raised many eyebrows and was also termed overweight to be a tennis player.

Bethanie+Mattek+Sands
“My socks are too high for you?”

Oh yes, “Anna Kournikova is extremely beautiful and hence could not win matches”. I remember a well known cricket commentator  who was commentating on some match (don’t remember who was playing) but it was June and Wimbledon was about to begin. He said to his fellow commentators that if you want to see the beautiful Russian Ana, than you better hurry, otherwise she will be out of the tournament and then there was a humongous laughter in the commentary box.! In the recently concluded Rio Olympics, Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno too suffered abuse for her size after she faltered at the bar. One of her bully wrote: “Alexa Moreno has the body of two gymnasts together; a diet before going to the Olympics would have been nice.”

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“My eyebrows are too busy for you ?”
alex moreno
“I faltered at the bar because i am fat?”

It is not that everybody is the same and for sure there are so many people who always come forward to give support to players  but there is a small section of people who think just because they have registered their names on different social media with a password, they can say whatever they like. This certainly is not a sign of a progressive world. We are no doubt entitled to our view but as the Spider Man says – With power comes great responsibility and one should always keep that in mind.

 

 

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Decathlon opens its new store at Gurgaon

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Do you need a Cricket kit or a Tennis kit or even Golf equipment? Or are you an adventure buff and struggle to find all its goods under one roof? Come to Decathlon and all your problems will be solved. It is a one stop destination for all the sporting goods that you need. Decathlon is all set to open their second store at Gurgaon from 3rd of September 2016. And what an apt place they have chosen to open their mega store. Huda City Metro station (First Floor).

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One of the biggest sporting goods retailers in the world, Decathlon since 2009 has been trying to make sports accessible to everyone in India. It is also a good initiative in a cricket frenzy nation, where so many people interested in other sports like badminton, table tennis or golf often struggle to find good quality goods easily.

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Not to forget adventurous sports, on which Decathlon focuses with utmost care and precision. You will get all the good quality goods under one roof whether it is camping, surfing, water sports, trekking or even rafting.

Started with a store at Lille in France in 1976, Decathlon has come a long way and has expanded its hold in 22 countries with 850 stores. The group also owns 20 brands which represent a different sport and work in sync to produce latest innovative designs which are practical in use for the buyers. Some of the brands that Decathlon owns are Quechua (Dominant in the Mountaineering sport) and B’Twin (Leader in Bicycling) and they are quiet popular among its customers. They have already opened around 38 stores in India and have plans to expand even further. So, go and check it out their new store at Gurgaon and explore the new range and varieties of Sporting Goods.

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Note- I was Invited by Decathlon for their store’s  Pre launch at Gurgaon.

 

 

 

 

International Stars @Rio Olympics 2016

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Old records were broken…New created…New Stars were born and for some it was swansong. The Rio Olympics began on a controversial note but ended on a high… There were some Athletes who were stars and will be remembered for their heroic performances. Here is my list of athletes who were stars at the Rio Olympics. ( In no particular order.)

Michael Phelps(Swimming)

 Michael_Phelps_Rio_Olympics_2016  

Just to state a fact; He has more medals than India in total in the history of Olympics. The Swimmer is one of the most decorated Olympian of all time, having won 28 medals out which is 23 are gold medals. Wow! Now that’s a record. The 2016 Olympics was his last and what an ending it was for him. The 31 year old American won Golds in the 200m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay, as well as silver at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.

Usain Bolt (Track and Field)

      Usain_Bolt When you are playing your last Olympics,  you want to give your best …you want to leave a legacy behind and the best way to do so – Usain Bolt knows it- Win Gold. Bolt is the best in this area.  The unprecedented triple treble is what the legendary athlete has left behind. At Rio Olympics, he won Gold Medal in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, the feat he did at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.  His athletic poise and infectious personality will surely be missed.

Mo Farah (Athlete)  Mo Farah

He perhaps has the best resume in the history of British Athletics…He stumbles.. Falls… gets up and wins Gold Medal. He is Mo Farah. He became the first man since Finland’s Lasse Viren in 1976 to retain two Olympic distance titles. Farah won gold medals in both 5,000m and 10,000m and made his nation proud. It was his 4th Gold medal at the Olympics.

Simone Biles (Gymnastics) Simone Biles

After winning the team medal at the Rio Olympics, Biles and one of her team player was sitting in their room and chatting. Suddenly a fire alarm broke and both ran out of their room but Biles realized she had left her Gold Medal inside. She rushed back and got her medal. Well, that’s the true value a medal for Athletes, especially when you won it in Olympics.  She was an ordinary teenager before the Rio Olympics, but after, Biles became a house hold name not only in USA but across the world. When girls her age partied, she practiced and practiced hard on floor …on vault..And all that paid off and like no one had ever expected. She won 4 Gold Medals (Individually and team events on floor and vault) and became the first woman to win 4 Gymnastic medal in a single Olympic Games. East German swimmer Kristin Otto is the only female athlete to win more gold medals (Six Gold Medals that she won in 1988 Seoul) in one edition.

Wayde Neikerk (Athlete)  Wayde Neikerk

This South African runner made his country proud by smashing world record in 400m to win an Olympic gold. The 24 year old clocked a timing of 43.03seconds to cross the finish line. It was .15seconds quicker than the previous record holder Johnson in 1999.

Elaine Thompson (Track and Field) 

Elaine Thompson

The Jamaican showed what she is made up of at the Rio Olympics. If there were any doubts of who was the fastest in women’s 200 m in the world, it was all cleared when Elaine Thompson picked up Gold Medal with the timing of 21.78 seconds. Not only that, Thompson also completed a sprint double by winning the 100 m Gold as well since Florence Griffith Joyner achieved this feat at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Joseph Schooling (Swimming) Joseph Schooling

Schooling’s name will go down in history as the first athlete to fetch a Gold Medal for Singapore.  It was the only time at Rio when Michael Phelps was denied a Gold Medal. Schooling won the Gold Medal in the 100m butterfly to make history for his country.

Jin Jong Oh (Shooting)

Jin Jong OhDown but never out- is how the world now defines Jin Jong Oh. He hit a dismal 6.6 in the finals of the 50 m Pistol event and was at one point on the brink of getting eliminated. He however, came backs strongly to win a historic Gold Medal. He is the only shooter male or female to win three straight Gold Medals at this event. He also won a Silver Medal in 2004 Athens.

Justin Rose (GOLF)

Justin Rose

18th hole birdie and Justin Rose registered his name in History books. Rose clinched Gold Medal in Men’s Golf, a sport which was included in the Olympics after a gap of 112 years. Rose finished 16 strokes under par.

Kerry Wash Jennings (Beach Volleyball) 

Kerry Wash Jennings

“There has not been a single time that after winning Gold Medals (Three Gold Medals- 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics) I have not dropped them or dented them.. I always felt sad for a second and then reminded myself that it’s not about winning medals, it is about enjoying the journey that led up to the medals , a journey that will always remain with me .. it will not be dented ”.. This is what Jennings had to say before she began her quest at the Rio Olympics and her fans were expecting to drop another Gold Medal here. But playing with a new Partner this was not the case. But Jennings did not go empty handed and captured a Bronze Medal in the ladies Beach Volleyball. She is one of the most decorated Beach Volleyball and indeed is a star.

Almaz Ayana (Athlete)

Almaz Ayana

10,000 m distance being completed in 29 minutes.. sounds Crazy right? But yes, you have heard it correctly. Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia set the World record in 10,000 m race by finishing it in 29 minutes and 17.45 seconds. Ayana is known for her relentless pace and agility — the two cardinal characteristics needed for one of the most grueling races. Rightly so, the 24 year old hailed her record as “a dream come true.”

Monica Puig (Tennis)

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She became an overnight tennis sensation after winning the Gold medal in the Ladies Singles event. She beat German Angelque Kerber in straight sets to fetch a first Gold Medal for Puerto Rico.

Andy Murray (Tennis)   Andy Murray

The British contingent had a superlative run in tennis for second consecutive Olympics as their favourite son Andy Murray won the Gold Medal in the men’s singles event . Murray became the first male tennis player to win two Olympic singles titles by beating Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in a 4 hour grueling final.

 

 

Indian stars @ Rio Olympics 2016

rio olympics logoThe Rio Olympics 2016 is over. The stage is done and dusted. Lessons are learnt and now we know what our standards are when it comes to the mega events. India finished 67th with one Silver medal and one Bronze medal among the 118 athletes contingent sent for the Olympics. (Naturally neither the 1.22 billion can fetch you a medal nor sending a humongous delegation.)

Before we even forget all about Rio Olympics, I would like to throw some lights on some other athletes or players who have done reasonably well during the event. It was not difficult to find them (You can count them on your finger tips). The two ladies we know saved India’s blushes at the Rio (Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu.) But there were some others too who are worth mentioning. Let’s have a look-

  1. Sakshi Malik 

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Malik broke the medal deadlock for India after she won a Bronze Medal at 58 kg Category Wrestling event in a Recpechage. She also became the 4th Female Olympic medalist from the country. I have written at length about her and her achievement on my blog of which is link is given below-https://sportspunch.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/malik-sakshi-malik/

 

  1. PV Sindhu

P.V._Sindhu_Indian_Badminton_Player

Sindhu provided a Silver Lining when all other athletes were crying for help. She became the first Female player ever to win a Silver Medal in Olympics for India. The 21-year-old Sindhu joined shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Kumar and wrestler Sushil Kumar to win the Olympic silver for India. She is first Indian woman to win a silver Medal at the Olympics.

  1. Dipa Karmarkar

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She raised all of our hopes when she qualified for the finals of the vault event. Doing the ever so dangerous Produnova, she performed like a champion on the D Day and gave her best. She could not finish on the podium but her performance was a huge lesson to those who were busy in giving excuses for their failures. She scored a very good 15.066 in her finals to finish 4th. USA Sensation Simone Biles won the gold medal with the score of 15.966. To know more about Dipa, read my earlier blog- https://sportspunch.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/indias-gymnastics-hope-dipa-karmarkar/

  1. LALITA BABAR

Lalita_Babar_-_Rio_2016

Once you have talked about these ladies; you may wonder whose next. Well there was another lady who deserves a mention- Lalita Babar. She is India’s long distance runner who also created history by becoming the first Indian in 32 years (PT Usha did so in 400 m hurdles in the 1984 Games.) to qualify for the finals in any track event in Olympics. She qualified for the finals of 3000 steeple chase event. Lalita clocked nine minutes and 22.74 seconds — nearly three seconds behind her national record timing in the water and barrier race to finished 10th in final. She may not have won any medal but the very fact that it took 32 years for an Indian athlete to even qualify for finals says a lot about our preparation and culture of sport. Babar for her sheer commitment and determination deserves appreciation.

  1. Abhinav Bindra

This Olympics was ruled by Indian women. From Twitter to whatsapp jokes to Facebook comments, the ladies were applauded and reminded us how male athletes disappointed us. But trust me; there were some men also who performed well. (At least when compared with the standards that we saw in the games). Bindra missed a Bronze medal by a whisker in the Men’s 10 m air rifle finals. He needed a 10 to remain in the race for the Bronze medal contention but it was not his day and his Russian opponent Vladimir hit 10.5 to end the roads for Bindra. He finished with 163.8. But we should never forget that he is a world class shooter and remains the only Indian to have a Gold medal for us in an Individual event. (2008 Bejing Olympics was the proudest moment for all Indians.

6 Manish Rawat-

Manish who?? Yes, Manish Rawat. From working in the fields and selling tea to meet ends on daily basis to represent India on the biggest sporting platform ever- Olympics, Rawat’s story has been nothing short of an Inspiration. He qualified for the 20km Men’s race walk finals event and finished 13th. But the best thing was he beat some of the best racewalkers in the process including 4 former world champions, 2 Olympic medalists and 2 European champions. He clocked one hour 21 minutes and 21 seconds to complete the race.

7.  Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna

A lot was expected from this Mixed Doubles pair before the start of the Olympics. They performed well as well until the semifinals. The Indian pair was a set ahead but faltered when the mattered the most and lost to the American Pair of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in the semis. The Indian pair looked out of sink in their Bronze Medal match and lost to Czech Republican pair of Radek Stepanek and Hradecka to finish 4th.

8. Dattu Bhokanal

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What an extraordinary person Dattu Bhoknala is (To know more about him, refer to my blog- ) Long before he became the lone rower to make cut for the Rio Games, his life was rocked with personal issues. That however did not deter his grit and it was his never say die attitude that made him reach the last 8 of the Singles Sculls event. He finished 4th in his quarterfinal- an agonizing defeat because if he had finished third, he would have made it to the semis.  To know more bout him read my blog-https://sportspunch.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/the-rowing-hero-at-rio-datuu-bhokanal/

9. ATANU DAS

atanu das

We always have so many expectations from archery. But our archer’s show was disappointing at Rio. However, there was one archer who impressed everyone – Atanu Das. He reached the pre quarterfinals of the Individual recurve event but failed to go beyond that. But let’s hope the experience that he got from this Olympics will yield some good results in next.

Well, this Olympics did not go as expected… We hope, some we will learn from our mistake and will rectify them in 2020.

PV SINDHU- The Pride of Nation

 

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P V Sindhu at Rio , Image courtesy – Pratik Behera

 

Winning an Olympic medal is every athletes dream and when your dream is fulfilled, you naturally feel at top of the world. All the hard work, injuries and sleepless nights pay off. PV Sindhu , the Indian badminton star knows what it takes to become a champion.. And after so much of hard work, commitment and struggles, she tasted the victory and what a Victory it was. Winning a Silver Medal at the ladies singles badminton event at the festival of all the sports- THE OLYMPICS.

She may have lost the final to World Number one Spain’s Carolina Marin, but not at any point did Sindhu looked fragile. She was far more composed than she usually is. She was far more consistent, perhaps the most consistent since she began playing. She played more rallies in the match which has always been her problematic area. She never looked nervous nor lost her control in her loss in an hour and 25 minute long match. When you see these qualities, you know a champion is born. It does not matter whether you win or lose what matters is the manner in which you win or lose. On route to her finals, the world number 10 Sindhu beat top ranked players.  PV Sindhu has finally managed to come out of Saina Nehwal’s shadow and has made her own niche in the badminton world. Her game has improved over the years so has her attitude. Earlier known as an expressionless player on court, she was told by her coach Gopichand to show more expressions, fist pumping and aggression, she learned and her reactions on court became her highlight throughout the last two weeks at Rio.

The first game of the final match had the longest rally of 49 seconds during which 52 shots were played. The Indian won the pulsating first game 21-19 to take lead in the match. Marin on the other hand was also eyeing to become the first European Women to win the ladies singles badminton gold in Olympics. She was too ferocious and reminded me of Venus Williams and Monica Seles because of her heaving grunting during the match. Marin is known to be an intimidating player and fetched the second game to level the match at one game all. The decider too was a high octane one which Marin won 21-15 to win the Gold Medal and create history. Both of them were making their debut at the Olympics and both created history for their respective countries. It was also amazing to watch that there were no Chinese players at the podium in this category. The bronze medal was won by Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara after her Chinese opponent Li Xeueri withdrew from the match due to injury.

Born to a Volleyball players parents, it was quite natural for young Sindhu to get drawn towards sport. She however chose Badminton after being inspired by her coach Pullela Gopichand. She picked up the badminton racquet at the age of 8 and rest as they say is history.

Career Highlights.

Sindhu began showing good results at very early stages of her life. But 2013 onwards she has been unstoppable. She has won two Bronze medals at the world championships in ladies singles badminton. She won her first Bronze Medal in 2013 at Guangzhou and then followed it up in 2014 at Copenhagen. She also captured Brozne Medals at the 2014 Commonwealth games and at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. In 2015, P. V. Sindhu won her third successive women’s singles title at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold.

Records-

The 21-year-old Sindhu joined shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Kumar and wrestler Sushil Kumar to win the Olympic silver for India. She is first Indian woman to win a silver Medal at the Olympics.

After her win, loads of accolades are rightfully pouring in for her. She provided to be the silver lining amid the otherwise pretty forgettable Olympics for India. You have made India proud. Take a bow lady!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malik….Sakshi Malik..

sakshi

She is Malik …..Sakshi Malik. India’s James Bond..(For me, she indeed is) Cold when playing, soft when not. Expressionless when she is busy tackling and trying to pin her opponent…Listening to music, when she is relaxing.

Malik did what others failed to do at the Rio Olympics- Win medal. Malik’s sealed country’s first medal at Rio, when so many top notch athletes fell at wayside and the mega event was nearing its completion. Malik won Bronze in the Women’s wrestling  freestyle 58kg category, defeating Kazakhstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova in a pulsating Repechage round. The 23 year old Indian was 0-5 behind in the first period. She however mustered her confidence and courage to beat her opponent in the last 2 minutes to win the medal. Malik produced a champion like performance amongst great cheers from Indian supporters.

Malik lost to Russian Valeria Kobolova in the quarterfinals but as Valeria reached the finals, Malik had another chance at a medal.

Learning lessons from her mistakes, Sakshi was in full force against Mongolian Orkhon Purevdorj in Repechage round 2. She dominated the proceedings and beat the Mongolian 3-1(period score) to have a shot at the medal.  She was not even in top 20 of the world ranking when she entered the Rio.

 

TRIVIA

Sakshi Malik became the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal and overall 5th Wrestler to fetch India a medal at the Olympics in Wrestling.  She is also only the 4th female athlete from India to win medal at the biggest sporting event in the world.

Early life and her Struggles

It is interesting to know that Malik belongs to state of Haryana who has given other World Class Wrestlers to our country but is known for extreme gender inequality. She comes from a society where girls taking up Wrestling raises a lot of eye brows and “Who will marry her” kind of questions are a daily routine. But it was sheer determination and focus that led her shine and shine big.

Born in Rohtak, Sakshi always had supportive parents. Malik got into Wrestling after watching her grandfather Badhlu wrestle. She then began training at the age of 12 under Coach Ishwar Dahiya in Rohtak where she and her coach faced a lot of opposition and criticism from villagers for taking up the sport. Malik meanwhile did not lose her heart and kept practicing harder day by day. She was once leaving her life under the shadow of famous Phogat sisters. She was once the training partner of Geeta Phogat but wrestling was one thing that kept her going and slowly and steadily boosted her confidence.

Achievements

Sakshi first tasted her international success in 2010 when she won a Bronze Medal at the Junior World Championships in 58kg category. At the 2014 Dave Schultz International Tournament, she won gold in the 60 kg category. She is also a proud owner of a Silver Medal at the 2014 Glasgow in 58kg weight category. She won Bronze Medal at the 2015 Doha Asian Championships in 60kg category. She qualified for Rio by defeating the Chinese Lan Zhang, in the semi-finals of the Olympic qualifiers in Istanbul.

 

WHAT IS A REPECHAGE

Repechage is a French word, meaning second chance. The system gives losers in the early stages (Round of 16) of a wrestling tournament to still have a chance to win a Bronze. Contestants who lose their bouts to the finalist are eligible to vie for the Bronze. There are two Bronze Medals from each group.

She may have won Bronze Medal, but considering it was our first medal in a 118 athlete contingent that was sent to make India proud, the shine of the medal is nothing less than a Diamond.

 

Tennis Results Overall @ Rio Olympics

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History created… Puerto Rica wins first ever Gold Medal in Olympics

Hardly anybody knew Monica Puig before the start of the Tennis event at the Rio Olympics, but the 22 year old made sure on 13th of August (IST) 2016 that her name goes down in the History books… that everybody remembers her name now.  The Puerto Rican created history by becoming the first athlete (Men or Women) to win an Olympic gold for her country.  puig

She beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber (perhaps the favorite to win) in a pulsating three set match 6-4 4-6 6-1 to win the women’s singles Gold Medal. The current world number 33,  Puig never ever had even reached beyond the 4th round of any major, before this triumph. She holds a career record of 220-139 in singles and has won one WTA title so far. Her execution and precision on the D day was just  spot on and Kerber who was aiming to win a medal for Germany in tennis since Steffi Graf did it in 1992, could not match up to her. Puig claimed the first set as Kerber suffered a shoulder injury. But the German roared back in a close second, onoonly for Puig to run away with the third. Puig is also the only unseeded player to win gold since the reintroduction of tennis in 1988. Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic beat USA’s Madison Keys in three sets 7-5 2-6 6-2 to win bronze.

Murray…..Murray….

When Juan Martin Del Porto and Britain’s Andy Murray stepped onto the tennis court, a high octane match was expected from them.. Neither of them disappointed and produced some of the best tennis for the delight of spectators. In a see-saw match, It was Andy Murray who came Triumphant  after a grueling battle of 4 hours to clinch the Gold Medal. Murray became the first tennis player to win two Olympic singles title. The Brit won 7-5 4-6 6-2 7-5.

After losing a scintillating semifinal clash to Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal was visibly tired and fatigued when he took on Kei Nshikori in the Bronze Medal match. The Japanese took the opening set in no time. He was at one time leading 5-2 in the second set and was serving for the match; Nadal however, upped the ante by winning 4 games in row and eventually taking the second set in a tie breaker, forcing the match into decider. The third set meanwhile had a totally different story to tell. Nishikori held his nerves to seal the match in three sets to win an Olympic Medal for Japan in tennis since 1920. (in 96 years)

Mixed Doubles- USA Dominates

Veteran tennis player Venus Williams signed off the Rio Olympics on a high note after having not so good run at the mega event. Venus Williams and her mixed doubles partner Rajeev Ram gave a tough fight to their counterpart Jack Sock and Bethani Mattek-Sands in the Gold Medal match, but it was the latter duo who won the Yellow Metal.

mixed doubles

After losing the Semifinals against the American pair of Rajeev Ram and Venus Williams, Indian combine Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna had to come all guns blazing in their Bronze medal encounter against the Czech pair of veteran Radek Stepanek and Hradecka. Mirza and Bopanna failed to do that and lost the match in straight sets 6-1 7-5 to the Czech Republic pair, finishing 4th.

Men’s doubles – Vamos Spain !

Men doubles

When Rafael Nadal began his quest for second Gold medal at Rio, he still was not fully recovered. Despite of that he put his best foot forward and won the men’s doubles Gold.  Partnering Marc Lopez, the Spanish pair beat the Romanian pair of Mergea and Tecau in a pulsating three sets 6-2 3-6 6-4. The Bronze medal match was won by American duo Sock and Johanson. They defeated Canadian Pair of Pospisal and Daniel Nestor.

Women’s doubles — Russia is the best

Russian pair of Ekaerina Makarova and Elena Vesnina held their heads high as they won the Gold medal in the women doubles. Both known for their high quality game have previously captured 2013 French Open and 2014 US open together. They out classed Switzerland’s pair of Martina Hingis (who was making her Olympics appearance after 20 years) and Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets to make sure that Russian National anthem was sung for the 7th time till now at Rio. The fate of the Bronze medal was decided in an all Czech Encounter. Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova beat their compatriots Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1 to complete the podium.

Major Upsets

The Tennis event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, gave some of the most bizarre and unexpected results…All the A list players competed in the event (In all categories). It was supposed to be a usual affair for Williams’ sisters who were undefeated at the Quadrennial event. But the hard court of Rio had other plans for them. They were outclassed by the combo of Czech Republic pair of Lucy Safarova and Strycova. In the singles too, it was soon curtains for them. Other top ranked players too faltered in the early stages.

India’s Overall Show

India drew blank in tennis. The team lost both their Men’s Doubles and women’s doubles matches in the opening round. While, the Pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna lost to polish pair of Matkowski and Kewitt, Sania Mirza and her partner Prarthana Thambore were shown the door by Chinese pair of Zhang and Peng in a three set thriller.

TRIVIA -Unlike previous editions of the Olympic event, the 2016 Olympic tournament does not offer ranking points for the players.

Tennis was reintroduced in Olympics in 1988 and since then has not been excluded.

Tennis Medal Standings

USA – 1 Gold Medal (Mixed Doubles),   1 Silver Medal (Mixed Doubles) and 1 Bronze Medal (Men’s Doubles)

Spain- 1 Gold (Men’s Doubles)

Puerto Rico – 1 Gold Medal (Women Singles)

Russia- 1 Gold Medal(Women’s Doubles)

Germany – 1 Silver Medal (Women Singles)

Romania- 1 Silver Medal( Men’s doubles)

Switzerland-1Silver (Women doubles)

Japan- 1 Bronze Medal(Men’s Singles)

Czech Republic – 3 bronze Medals (Women Singles, Mixed Doubles and Women’s doubles)

India – None

India @RIO till now (TILL 11th August 9pm IST)

As the first week of the Rio Olympics comes to a close, it has given some extraordinary results which were beyond my imagination…  rio olympics logo

TENNIS

Serena Williams lost her third round match to Elina Svitolina to bow out of the Olympics in tennis. Meanwhile Madison Keys from USA, Angelique Kerber from Germany have advanced into the next round matches. In the men’s section, defending Gold medalist Andy Murray from Britain, Rafael Nadal from Spain , Juan Martin del Potro from Argentina are still in the race of winning gold medal, making the contest an interesting one.

HOCKEY

It was a splendid 70 minutes one could have watched and after such a long time, Indian team looked in control over tough teams while playing. They did not make any mistakes and kept head cool and registered a well deserved win over Argentina. This was the first time that India beat Argentina since 2009.

Against the Netherlands, The team started off tight but it was the Holland who broke the deadlock .But men in Blue came back to level the score at one all..But in the dying moments of the game, the Dutch got a penalty corner and scored to make it 2-1.. Indian got 5 penalty corners there after even after the regular time was over, but they fail to convert it and lost the match.

Badminton —

It turned out to be a mixed day for Indian badminton contingent.

Indian combo of Ashwani Ponappa and Jwala Gutta lost their opening encounter against World No 1 players from Japan, Matsutomo Misaki and Takahashi Ayaka. The Indian pair lost 21-15 21-10.  The same story was repeated in the men’s doubles . The Indian doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, who were making their Olympic debut, lost their match against the Indonesian duo World No. 2 Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

Whilst in the singles, Indian medal hope Pv Sindhu opened the proceedings with a win. She easily beat Hungarian Laura Sarosi 21-8, 21-9 in her Group M encounter.

ARCHERY

Indian medal hopes were crushed when Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi both lost their pre quarterfinals and bowed out of the competition.

ROWING AND JUDO– Indian lone rower Dattu Bhokanal too lost his quarterfinals of the single sculls, while another debutant Avtar too lost his opening match at Judo.

BOXING Boxing too did not bring any good news as SHIV Thapa lost his round of 32 match against Gold medal contender Robeisy Rameriz of Cuba.

SWIMMING-

Phelps .. Phelps and only Phelps… for me he is perhaps the best swimmer the world has ever seen. He captured his 21st Olympic gold medal aided by Ryan Lochte in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Not only that, the American duo also qualified for the finals of the 200m Individual medley.

RIO TILL NOW – Part one

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The lead up to the Rio Olympics was just not up to the mark. It was marked by controversies, corruption, violence and god knows what not. But when the D Day came, it was all long forgotten and the Olympics spirit was seen among athletes and among the spectators. It began with a colorful opening ceremony that had so many wow factors. It showcased the history of Brazil  that engulfed everyone with its high spirit.

The game began on 5th of August and boy what a shocking start it indeed was. Some unexpected results were seen on the very first day in the world of tennis

Tennis

In the men’s section opening round, when 2009 US open champion Juan Martin Del Potro took on world number one Serbian Novak Djokovic, it was a repeat of 2012 London Olympics where Potro beat Djokovic to clinch the Bronze medal. The result was the same 4 years later. Potro knocked out the Serb in straight sets in a mouthwatering clash. But what was different this time around was the crowd.

The Crowd’s support was such that after two and half hours epic battle, both players were in tears. One was happy and the other dejected. One moved into the next round and the other now will have to wait for 4 more years.

Other player’s like Rafael Nadal after nursing his injury and Wimbledon Champion and defending gold medalist Andy Murray advanced into the next round.

Another shocker came in the women’s doubles section when Williams’ sisters tasted their first defeat at the Olympics. The defending gold medalist pair was shown the door by the Czech Republic combo of Lucy Safarova and Strycova in straight sets.

In the singles, it was a dead end for Venus Williams as she was crashed out in the first round. While younger sister Serena Williams reached the second round.

Indians at Tennis

It was a disastrous start for the Indian contingent in tennis. Leander Paes playing a record 7th Olympics lost his opening match of the men’s doubles. Paes playing with Rohan Bopana crashed out in their opening match. They were defeated by the Polish combo of Matkowski and Kubut in straight sets.

Another bad news came from the women’s doubles section. Indian pair of Sania Mirza and debutant Prarthana Thambore too bowed out in the first round.

Archery—

Indian women team of Deepika Kumari, Laxmirani Manjhi and Bombayla Devi put up a brave fight but could not go past beyond the quarterfinals. The Indian team lost to Russia by 2 points in a nail biting contest. South Korea won their eighth straight women’s team archery gold, beating Russia five set points to one in the final. Korean team now has won the event every time since its introduction in 1988, although Russia won the World Championships in 2015. Chinese Taipei took the bronze, beating Italy by five set points to three.

In the singles too, it was curtains for Lazmirani.

Hockey

After a splendid show in the opening round against Ireland, the Indian men’s hockey team repeated their same old story and that cost them their second match to Germany. Germany scored their second and winning goal in the last 3 seconds that left Indian team zapped and looking for answers.

Women’s team on the other hand who has entered the Olympics after 36 years looked more organized in their lung opener against Japan. Despite trailing 0-2 in the opening halves of the match, the team pulled up a draw to end the match at 2 all.

Shooting

This perhaps is one of the strongest categories of the Indian Contingent when it comes to medal prospect. But this time around, they have disappointed a lot. From Abhinav Bindra, Jitu Rai , Heena Sidhu all have failed to live up to the expectations and have bowed out of the competition. Bindra missed the Bronze Medal by a whisker. He settled for 4th position in the 10m air rifle event to bid adieu his last Olympic on a slightly disappointing note. Italy’s Nicolo Campriani fetched the Gold Medal, ( one better than the last Olympics. He won Silver at London), Ukraine’s Serihy Kulish took home the silver while, debutant Russia‘s Vladimir Maslennikov completed the podium.

Jitu Rai was way off the mark and stood last. Vietnam’s Vinh won the gold medal with 202.5, while Almeida of Brazil took the silver and China’s Wei settled for bronze.

The Men’s trap event was equally upsetting as Manavjeet Singh and Chinay failed to qualify for the finals.

 Rowing

One hope that still remains is rowing where India’s lone participant Dattu Bhokanal has reached the last 8 in the single sculls event. He finished third in the heats.

Gymnastics

Dipa Karmarkar continues to impress as she has qualified for the finals of the Vault event. She finished 8th to reach the finals which will take place on 14th of August.

Indian’s journey so far has not been up to the mark but we still have hopes as our wrestlers, badminton players and track and field stars are all set to begin their respective matches. Let’s hope the coming days will bring some good news for India.

 

 

 

GOLF’s DEBUT AT RIO

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Par.. Under par… Birdie… Albatross .. Double eagle…. No I am not writing gibberish…These are some of the terminologies used for GOLF.. A sport which was never my cup of tea ( Not because I thought the game was inferior, but just the opposite.. ) but slowly as my interest grew in sport, I brushed up my knowledge about many sport.. Golf was definitely one of those. I am still learning about the nuances of it and claim to be no expert in this field.

But what attracted me to golf even more was the fact it has been included in the Olympics for the first time in more than a century. Precisely 112 years. WOW! Now that’s a long time.. So, the newly built Olympic Golf course within the “Reserva de Marapendi” in the Barra da Tijuca zone, is all set to host the ‘whose who’ of the Golf world. Before this, it was part of the programme only in Paris 1900 and St Louis 1904. In Rio, men and women from 41 countries will compete in individual categories.

Strong  Contenders.

Many high profile golfers have withdrawn their names from the competition concerning Zika Virus.  This leaves Sweden’s Henrik Stenson the front runner for the gold medal. Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Great Britain’s Justin Rose are others who will be watched carefully.

The women section will be spearheaded by New Zealand’s Lydia ko who is a strong contender for the yellow metal. She is however expected to receive a stiff competition from Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Canada’s Brooke Henderson.

India’s squad

3 Golfers from India are eyeing for the gold medal. Experienced Anribran Lahiri and Shiv Chawrasia will be the nation’s challenge in the men’s section while, Aditi Ashok is the face of nation in the women’s section.

            Anribran Lahiri

Lahiri is the best bet from our side. Often considered to be one of the best in India, Lahiri would love to put in a standard performance. He has won 18 professional titles in his careers so far and is currently top ranked Asian Golfer in the world at present. He also won Silver Medal for India at the 2006 Asian Games at Dhoha.

 

Shiv Chawrasia

As far as Shiv Chawrasia is concerned, he is ranked 44th in the Golf federation’s Olympics ranking list which was enough for him to qualify for the big event. (TOP 60 qualified for the Rio). His strength is the short game and therefore was nicknamed “Chip-Putt-Sia”. He is also a proud winner of Hero India Open in 2016 and Avantha Masters in 2011.

 

 

Aditi Ashok

Aditi Ashok is a teen golf sensation from India and will be carrying Nation’s hope on her debut Olympics. She will use all her experience she has gathered in such a short span of time. Ashok created history by becoming the youngest to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School. She thus secured her ladies European card for the 2016 season.

Format of the game-

The competitors will play a 72-hole individual stroke play tournament. In the event of a tie for any of the first three positions, a three-hole playoff will determine the medal winners.

Competition Schedule-

The men’s competition will take place from August 11 to 14 and the women’s event is scheduled for August 17 to 20.

TRIVIA

You know what an marvelous fact about Golf.. It was played on the moon in 1971 when US astronaut Alan Shepherd exited Apollo14 and hit a 6-iron shot.

In this Olympics Indian Aditi Ashok( she is 18 years old ) is the youngest Golfer in the fray, while, Mathew Catriona of USA is the oldest competitor at 46.

The lure of a gold medal has surely attracted some of the sport’s big names making it worth watching and adding a little glamour to the Olympics.