Olympic review: India draw a blank in athletics
Posted on: 11:53 AM IST Aug 11, 2012
Unlike other disciplines, there were no expectations of medals from the Indian athletes at the London Olympics in track and field events. And barring a few creditable display Krishna Poonia and Vikas Gowda in women's and men's discus throw events respectively there was no performance of note by any other athlete. Here's a look at how the Indian athletes fared in the different disciplines they participated in.
Men's 20 km walk: Gurmeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Irfan TodiAmong the three Indians who competed in the event, Irfan Todi finished a creditable 10th. He clocked 1:20:21 in the race participated by 56 walkers and bettered the previous national record of 1:20.35 held by Gurmeet Singh. He hung on to the leading pack for a while but could not maintain the pace set by China's Ding Chen (gold), Guatemala's Erick Barrondo (silver) and China's Zhen Wang (bronze). Meanwhile, Gurmeet and Baljinder finished 33rd and 43rd with a timing of 1:23:34 and 1:25:39 respectively.Men's discus throw: Vikas GowdaHaving made to the finals by hurling 65.20m in his very first attempt in the qualifying round, Gowda raised India's hopes of winning a medal. But a throw of just 64.79m in his first attempt, which was well below his personal best of 66.28m, could not take him in the top three as he finished eighth. Although Gowda remained at seven after the first round in the final, he failed to lift his performance thereafter as his next five throws read 60.95m, 63.03m, 64.15m, 64.48m and 63.89m.Men's shot put: Om Prakash KarhanaCompeting in his first Olympics, Om Prakash failed to touch even the national record 20.69m that he managed in May in the run-up to the Games. The 25-year-old ended 10th in Group B and 19th overall, with 19.86m being his best effort. He covered this distance in his second attempt after managing 19.40m in his first throw, while he committed a foul in his third effort.Men's and women's triple jump: Renjith Maheshwary and Mayookha JohnyThe shoddy display by Maheshwary and Mayookha should not come as a surprise as their preparation for the mega event was always in question. Both of them were asked to prove their fitness before the start of the London Olympics. So while Maheshwary fouled thrice in as many attempts in the men's competition, Johny finished a lowly 13th in the women's event. But failing at the big stage is not something new to Indian athletes. Top triple jumper in late 1960s and early 70s, Mohinder Singh Gill had three foul attempts in 1972 Munich Olympics, while the country's lone World Championships medallist long jumper Anju Bobby George did the same in Beijing four years ago.Women's High Jump: Sahana KumariSahana Kumari got knocked out of the women's high jump after clearing only 1.80m and finishing at joint 15th in the qualifying competition. Though the 30-year-old athlete sailed over the bar at the first attempt with a 1.80m leap, she failed in her endeavour to clear the 1.85m mark in all her three attempts and got eliminated.Women's discus throw: Krishna Poonia, Seema AntilPoonia's performance at the London Games could be termed as the best among all the Indian athletes participated in the track and field events. The 29-year-old discus thrower finished a creditable seventh in the women's event. Poonia's best effort of 63.62m was nowhere near her personal best of 64.76m, but she didn't lack the determination. She had qualified for the final round after finishing eighth in the qualification round.Seema Antil, meanwhile, missed out by a whisker to qualify for the main event. Her best effort of 61.91m came in the third and final throw. She finished 13th.Women's 3000m Steeplechase: Sudha SinghSudha Singh couldn't even qualify for the final of the women's 3000m Steeplechase, finishing a below-par 13th out of 15 runners in the first heat. Sudha, a gold medallist in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, clocked 9:48.86s, which was way below her personal best timing of 9:47.70 set in Huelva, Spain in June this year.Women's 800m: Tintu LukaLuka although produced her season's best timing, she still crashed out of the competition by finishing sixth in the women's 800m semi-finals. The 23-year-old runner clocked 1:59.69 in heat two. Coached by legendary runner PT Usha, Luka had qualified for the women's semi-finals after finishing third in heat two, clocking 2:01.75s.