Indian athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics are moving up in the games qualifying at each level of competition. PV Sindhu, a badminton star, and Satish Kumar, a boxer, have qalified for the next level in the matches held on Thursday.
BADMINTON: PV SINDHU
Sindhu, a silver medalist at the Rio Olympics five years ago, switched tactics and won points at will in the women's singles quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, defeating her Danish opponent 21-15, 21-13.
Sindhu outplayed Mia in just 41 minutes, using aggressive and deceptive shots to keep her opponent on the move throughout the match.
"I got off to a good start. I was rushing on defence a little in the first game, but my coach informed me I was playing the incorrect way and I was able to modify my strategy. Then in the second game, I think I did okay; I kept the lead and was in command," Sindhu commented soon after the match.
Sindhu will face the winner of the match between South Korean Kim Gaeun and Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in the next round.
In the second game, she was even more dominant, taking a 7-2 lead. The Indian was able to unleash her smashes and blend them with deceptive drop shots while playing with the stadium drift behind her, which left Mia shaking her head in despair.
Despite Mia's best efforts, Sindhu extended her five-point lead to 20-11 and nine match points, taking advantage of some unforced errors by her opponent. Mia saved two match points, but Sindhu was unstoppable on Thursday, securing a well-deserved win.
Sindhu has always performed well in major competitions, as evidenced by her silver medal performance in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and her performance in the World Championships, where she won gold in 2019; silver in 2017 and 2018; and bronze medals in 2013 and 2014.
"That's something a lot of people have told me. That's something I'll take as a compliment. However, each and every game is significant to me. It's critical to concentrate on each individual point rather than the entire match," said Sindhu.
When the draw was announced, everyone expected Sindhu's match against Mia to be her first major test in the knockout stages. But, based on how she played on Thursday, she appears to be highly focused, and stopping her will require a lot of work.
BOXING: SATISH KUMAR
On Thursday, Indian boxer Satish Kumar moved to the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics with a convincing win against Jamaican Ricardo Brown in the men's super-heavyweight round of 16 matches.
Kumar, a 32-year-old from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, who is competing in his first Olympics, won the +91kg match at the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena by a 4:1 split decision. The fight was scored in favour of the Indian fighter by four of the five judges.
Both boxers began on the defence and kept their distance as they put each other to the test. Brown went on the offensive, but Kumar was able to fight off the majority of Brown's attempts. Through his better timing, the Indian also landed some blows, earning him points from all five judges. He won the first round by a score of 50-44.
Brown, who was also making his Olympic debut, continued to be the aggressor in the second round but was unable to trouble Kumar much. The Indian fighter did an excellent job of defending and landing timed hooks and jabs. Despite a minor cut above his right eye that required immediate medical care, Kumar maintained his advantage and won this round as well, receiving 10 points from four judges (49-46).
Kumar maintained his defensive tactics as the heavyweights slowed down in the third round as weariness set in. Brown had a better third-round performance, landing a couple of good left hooks and following them with solid body combinations, but it was not enough to beat Kumar, a two-time Asian Championship bronze medalist.
It was a fantastic win for the Indian, who will face Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov, the incumbent world champion, on Sunday.
(With inputs from IANS)