Grappler Sushil Kumar provided an unexpected boost to India’s Olympic campaign by clinching
bronze medal after beating Kazakhstan’s Leonid Spiridonov in the repechage match of the men’s freestyle wrestling 66 kg class in Beijing today (August 20).

Sushil also thwarted the challenge from American Doug Schwab and Belarrussian Albert Batyrov in the first two repechage rounds after losing his opening round bout earlier in the day. Sushil Kumar fought three opponents in one hour to win Bronze. Declaring that he will continue to win medals for India, Sushil Kumar said, “Each one of those bouts were tiring and nerve wracking and each one of the opponents were very tough and skilled.

Sushil is only the second Indian wrestler to win the wrestling bronze after Kashabha Jadhav had returned with the medal in 1952 Helsinki Games.

Boxer Vijender Singh ensured another medal for India at the Beijing Olympics when he outpunched Carlos Gongora of Ecuador in the quarterfinal of the 75kg category bout here today (August 20).

With this victory, he is now assured of at least a bronze medal.

The Bhiwani pugilist, one of India’s best medal hopes, was ahead in all the four rounds and clinched the bout 9-4.

The Ecuadorean had no answer to his rival’s flurry of punches and trailed 1-4 in the second round.

Vijender made the difference with his left-hand jabs and crucial uppercuts to which Carlos had no answer.

With the score reading 7-2 in favour of Vijender after the penultimate round, the Ecuadorean needed to go all out in the fourth and final round. He did manage to close the gap but Vijender’s evading tactics and excellent footwork won him the
bout.

The morning of August 13th came as a big disappointment for India as its new badminton queen Saina Nehwal went down fighting in the singles against Indonesia’s Maria Kristin.

The 18-year-old Indian, on her maiden Olympic trip, went down 28-26 14-21 15-21 in the thrilling contest against her world number 16 rival.

In a nail-biting opening game, Saina frittered away a game point before getting her act together to go one up. However, unfazed by the initial setback Yulianti equalised in the next game, helped to a large extent by Saina’s mistakes.

The decider looked like going Saina’s way as she led 11-5 at one point but nerves got the better of the world number 15 Indian in the closing stages as Yulianti equalised before racing away with the game and the match.

In the men’s competition, Anup Sridhar has already made his exit, losing in the round of 16 of the men’s singles event.

Leander Paes - Mahesh Bhupathi, Olympics 2008, Beijing

Leander Paes - Mahesh Bhupathi, Olympics 2008, Beijing

Their impeccable on-court camaraderie betrayed no signs of a stormy past as Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi today inched closer to their first joint Olympic medal by reaching the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles event here.
The seventh seeded Indians played compact tennis to defeat Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa of Brazil 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour.

In the quarter-finals, they will take on the winners of the second round match that pits fourth seeded Swiss pair of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka against the mercurial Russian duo of Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny.

Paes and Bhupathi were in perfect sync and they combined well to negate the Brazilians. Breaking Sa early in the third game put them ahead and the duo subsequently did not relax their grip over the proceedings as they sealed the first set without much ado.

At a time when games tend to go with the serve, squandering break points is a luxury that a pair can hardly afford and Paes and Bhupathi put themselves right in the driver’s seat by breaking Melo in the first game of the second set.

Again in the seventh game, a couple of double faults by Sa handed the Indians a golden opportunity to take the match away from the Brazilians and they did just that, courtesy a scorching Bhupathi winner.

Bhupathi then served out for the set and match to complete the formality that put them right on course for an Olympic medal.

Paes was elated with the performance and said the key now was to sustain it.

“It was a good match. We played sharp tennis. We served well and returned well and we just need to repeat it every day,” Paes told reporters.

“We had come out firing in the first match and we gained a lot of confidence. It is tough to beat a team that plays so confidently,” he added.

Asked how he and Bhupathi could manage to put behind their stormy relation and dish out such quality stuff, Paes said, “See, both of are professionals and we know what to do. Mahesh has his way, I have mine. You don’t need to hang around together all the time. What is more important is how what we do in the court.

“I’m happy that we played like professionals and there was excellent camaraderie. I think it rather helps that we don’t live into each other’s life. It rather gives us a breather and helps us do well on the court.”


August 9, 2008

some more pictures . . .

Olympic event schedules

August 8, 2008

Here are the Olympic events we have tickets for. All times are local Beijing time — no, I don’t know the math for converting to Pacific Time.

8/15
Arrive in Beijing
8/16
2:00 pm  Men’s Handball, Prelim Group A — France vs Spain
3:45 pm  Men’s Handball, Prelim Group B – Russia vs Germany
8/17
9:00 am Women’s Basketball, Prelim Group B — Spain vs Mali
11:15 am Women’s Basketball, Prelim Group A — Australia vs Russia
2:30 pm Women’s Basketball, Prelim Group A — Latvia vs Korea
4:45 pm Women’s Basketball, Prelim Group A — Brazil vs Belarus
8:00 pm Women’s Basketball, Prelim Group B — Czech Republic vs China
10:15 pm Women’s Basketball, Prelim Group B — New Zealand vs USA
8/18
Bike tour of Tiananmen Square, Dongjiaomin Lane, Qianmen (Hutong)
9:00 pm Women’s Football, Semifinal
8/19
Morning at Olympic Green
10:00 am Men’s 3m Springboard, Semifinal
2:30 pm Women’s Basketball, Quarterfinal
4:45 pm Women’s Basketball, Quarterfinal
8:00 pm Women’s Basketball, Quarterfinal
10:15 pm Women’s Basketball, Quarterfinal
8/20
Great Wall, Forbidden City
8/21
9:00 am Athletics — Women’s 20K Walk (Final), Men’s Javelin, Men’s Decathlon 100m, Women’s High Jump, Men’s Decathlon High Jump, Men’s Decathlon Shot Put
8:00 pm Women’s Basketball, Semifinal
10:15 pm Women’s Basketball, Semifinal
8/22
Open
8/23
12:30 pm Women’s Indoor Volleyball, Bronze Medal game
7:30 pm Women’s Basketball, Bronze Medal game
10:00 pm Women’s Basketball, Gold Medal game
8/24
Open
Closing Ceremony — we don’t have tickets but expect to partying, HARD
8/25
Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven
8/26
Leave Beijing
8/27
Pass out from total exhaustion

“His exemplary leadership and demeanour under pressure, especially in the World Twenty20 and the tri-series in Australia, mark him out as the ideal role-model for millions of young Indians .