| London: Asian Games shooting champion Ronjan Sodhi crashed out of the men`s double trap event after he failed to make the finals while pistol shooter Vijay Kumar kept the country`s medal hopes alive in the 25m competition in the Olympic Games on Thursday.
Sodhi, a medal favourite prior to the Games along with Beijing Olympics hero Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang, put up a miserable display in the second and third rounds after starting promisingly with a score of 48 out of 50 in the opening round that put paid to his hopes.
The 32-year-old Firozepur-born marksman, who was the lone gold medal winner for the country in the Guangzhou Asiad two years ago, finished a lowly 11th from 24 contestants with a tally of 134 out of 150 and made his exit.
Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar, on the other hand, stayed in the medal hunt in the 25m rapid fire pistol event by standing fifth with 293 points in the first stage for an average score of 9.767. The second stage will take place on Friday.
Indian medal hopes receded further in tennis when Leander Paes and his unheralded partner Vishnu Vardhan fought valiantly before bowing out of the men`s doubles late last night.
A day after the more fancied pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna crashed out in the second round, Leander and Vishnu gave a better account of themselves before the strong duo of Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Michael Llodra, the wild card recipients from France, pulled off a gruelling 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 victory in a match which lasted two hours and seven minutes.
With just one bronze medal in their kitty, grabbed by Narang in the men`s 10m Air Rifle, India are now looking forward to an unlikely medal surge from its athletic contingent when the track and field events commence on Friday.
History is against them as India are yet to win a single track and field medal in the Olympics and only five -- Milkha Singh, S Sriram, Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, P T Usha and Anju Bobby George -- have made it to the final round.
First Published: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 22:02