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Athletes signed-off from Rio Olympics with a glittering closing ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.    

Doping, Leander Paes' late arrival cast shadow as India hope for rich haul

Paes reaching late in Rio simply means that he will step on the court with Bopanna with almost no practice and zero confidence.

Last Updated: Friday, August 5, 2016 - 11:22
Doping, Leander Paes' late arrival cast shadow as India hope for rich haul
Zee Media Bureau/Chander Shekhar Luthra

Rio de Janeiro: To get past six medals of 2012 London Games is what India have been eyeing here in Rio. But just a day before the opening ceremony here on Friday, the Indian contingent was still looking to get control of the situation, literally!

Before taking a flight to Brazil, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or government officials back home were going gaga over how India can achieve a double figure in medals this time around. And most of their over-confidence was because they were counting a good haul from other events – like wrestling and tennis – than just shooting.

The doping controversy of Narsingh Yadav even before reaching here has already taken a severe hit on India’s chances of winning medal. The entire Indian contingent is keeping its fingers crossed that “no more bad news” should hit team’s morale now.

Sadly, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is unable to understand gravity of the situation.

Paes checks in late

Tennis player Rohan Bopanna making queries over the whereabouts of his doubles partner Leander Paes has put a question mark over India’s only medal hope in tennis.

It was reliably learnt that 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze medallist will only be arriving here hours before the opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon. This, despite the fact that his partner, the first one to earn a right to play in Olympics, has been around for more than a week now.

Bopanna has no choice but to practice with other Indian players and team coach Zeeshan Ali. The claims of All India Tennis Federation, along with Paes’ very own, that he would be looking to play more and more in the run up to the Games has not only fallen flat but has certainly come at a wrong time.

A team official confirmed that “Paes has been playing World Team Tennis in the US and should be arriving here 36 hours before his first men’s doubles match.

Paes reaching late in Rio simply means that he will step on the court with Bopanna with almost “no practice and zero confidence”. At 43, with more than two-and-a-half decades of experience under his belt, Paes ought to understand the needs to be a good professional partner.

In other words, the “so-called doubles chemistry” that is widely being talked about would be missing. The only question to ask at this point of time is that why Indian tennis coach, Ali, has not used his influence to ensure Paes’ attendance for the whole of last week?

And, what to talk about AITA because sending Paes was like their only priority!

First Published: Friday, August 5, 2016 - 11:22

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