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Interview: Fierce and fearless, here’s how PV Sindhu takes on wins or failure

The world will always remember her as the fierce player in the yellow kit. The first female athlete to win a silver at the Olympics and the one who’s giving hopes to every other girl in the nation working hard towards their dream.
P.V. Sindhu marked history with her medal at the Rio Olympics 2016 on August 19, 2016. Her parents P.V. Ramana and P. Vijaya, both former volleyball players and PV. Ramana an Arjun awardee himself, have been a huge inspiration to her, apart from her coach Pullela Gopichand.
She says, “My parents have sacrificed a lot to get me here.” Talking about her coach, Sindhu tells us how he has been supportive throughout her journey and trained her to compete well. Here’s Sindhu talking with SheThePeople’s Sukanya Sharma.

US Open: Sania Mirza-Ivan Dodig out of mixed doubles in second round

Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Ivan Dodig were defeated by Barbora Krejcikova and Marin Draganja in the second round of the mixed doubles at the US Open tennis tournament on Sunday. The Czech-Croatian opponents played a tough match,  and within just one hour and five minutes Barbora and Marin beat Mirza and Dodig 6-3,6-4.

Also read: Ace Against Odds: The Sania Mirza Story

In the opening set, Barbora and Marin had an early advantage in the second game, which they capitalised on to win the first set. In the second, Sania and Ivan started off with a 2-0 lead. But the Czech-Croatian pair bounched back in the very next game before holding their serve to draw level at 2-2. They then held on to their serve and their nerves, which made the difference to the match. e.

Also read: Are women rewriting India’s sports history?

Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig had clinched the US Open mixed doubles title in 2014. The Czech-Croatian pair will now take on seventh seeded Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram in the quarter-finals.

Feature Image Credit: sportskeeda.com

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No golds so far at Rio 2016? But let’s celebrate 173 medals from the Special Olympics

On day 8 of the Rio Olympics, India is still seeking a gold medal despite the fact that this time, 118 sportspersons represent us. True, some of these sportspersons have just begun their competitions, so there’s still hope. But let’s face it, it’s hard to keep the faith.

So perhaps it’s time to look back on past glories in a completely different Olympics organised for sportspeople who are disabled in some way or another. Specifically, the 14th Special Olympic World Summer Games 2015, held in Los Angeles, in which the Indian contingent of 275 competitors returned with 173 medals – 47 golds, 54 silver and 72 bronze. This medal tally was a significant rise from the 13th Special Olympics, held in Athens, when the Indian team returned with 156 medals (56 gold, 48 silver and 52 bronze).

The elated Aquatics Team from LA

The Aquatics Team

The Indian Aquatics Team (Picture Credit: storypick.com)

Seven of the team members in 2015 came from the Delhi-based Asha Kiran Home and bagged three golds and four bronze medals.

On 4 August, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out the performance of Ranvir Singh Saini who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and created history by becoming the first Indian golfer to won a gold in the Games.

Also read: Rio 2016: Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana breaks World record in the women’s 10k meters

Ranvir Singh Saini created history by becoming the first Indian golfer to won a gold in the Games

Ranvir Singh Saini created history by becoming the first Indian golfer to won a gold in the Games (Picture Credit: homegrown.co.in)

Modi also mentioned 21-year-old Sneha Verma from Navi Mumbai who has Down’s Syndrome and bagged a gold in the 50m freestyle event (swimming), while Phoolan Devi won the first gold for India in power-lifting (bench press).

Also read: I don’t feel extra pressure, just feel responsible, says Sania Mirza about the quest for an Olympic medal

The proud swimmer - Sneha Verma

The proud swimmer – Sneha Verma (Picture Credit: www.thebetterindia.com)

Whatever happens by the end of the Rio Olympics, whether we bring home a gold medal or not, it’s important to remember this: Many of our fellow citizens have already brought us golds. Let’s not forget their contribution to Indian sport at this time.

Feature Image Credit: telangananewspaper.com

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Rio2016: They’re fabulous at sport and have physiques to die for. Meet 4 Olympians who make you want to work out

The Olympics Games are not just about showing off your bestest moves in front of millions of pairs eyes. They are also (whether the athletes like it or not) about displaying amazing bodies. Well, why not, since physique was very much part of the show at the original Olympics held in ancient Greece, when the all-male competitors performed entirely nude?

The 31st modern-day Olympics flagged off last week, and by day 7, we have already seen some of the hottest female bodies on display: on land, in water, and flying through the air. These women not only inspire us with their sports techniques, but make us realise how important it is to work out regularly.

Take a look at the most inspiring:

Dipa Karmakar: It is an absolute pleasure to watch India’s Karmakar performing a gymnastic act known as Produnov in the individual vault event. India’s first woman gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, the 23-year-old Tripura woman has a fabulous physique.

Dipa Karmakar performing a gymnastic act known as Produnov in the individual vault event

Dipa Karmakar performing a gymnastic act known as Produnov (Picture Credit: firstpost.com)

Also read: Rio 2016: Mirza and Bopanna breeze into semi-finals with comfortable win

Simone Biles: The extraordinary Biles of the United States of America just made a record by winning a second gold at the Rio Olympics. She is so utterly fit that she makes us confused: do we watch her moves as her competes, or watch her body? Arguably one of the best performers in the history of the sport, 19-year-old Biles defeated Russia and China in the team all-around by a wide margin and won the women’s individual all-around by a solid two points. With couple of complicated tricks and nearly flawless execution, Biles already has a move named after her.

Simone Biles performing her best land

Simone Biles performing her best land (Picture Credit: cosmopolitan.com)

Serena Williams: Though she has been eliminated from the game at Rio after a shocking defeat to the Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, Williams is already a cultural winner. If she’s hot enough to be in Beyonce’s music videos, she’s hot enough for us. Acquiring her perfectly shaped body is one of our major goals in life, given that we can’t achieve her feats on the tennis court.

Also read: The world’s successful women like to sweat it out!

Serena Williams' #breaktheinterne body

Serena Williams’ #breaktheinterne body (Picture Credit: jawbreaker.nyc)

Katinka Hosszu: The world record-breaking swimmer, Hosszu of Hungary won her third gold at Rio in the 200m individual medley and in the women’s 100m backstroke final. On Saturday night, Hosszu, nicknamed ‘the iron lady’, won gold in the 400m individual medley, beating the previous world record by nearly two seconds. Her body is simply fantastic. We’ll never achieve what she does in the pool, but we can certainly aim for her physique.

Katinka Hosszu's perfect shaped body

Katinka Hosszu’s perfect shaped body (Picture Credit: swimmingworldmagazine.com)

Give it up for the muscle women of the world.

Feature Image Credit: usatoday.com

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Rio 2016: Dutee Chand fails to qualify for the semi-final of 100m

On day 8 of the Olympics, all eyes were on ace Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand in Heat 5 of women’s 100-metre sprint, in the track and field events in Rio Olympics. Unfortunately, Chand could not make it to the semi-final, as she came 7th at the end of Round 1, clocking a time of 11.69.  Only the top two athletes from each heat qualified. Disappointing morning on the track for Indians.

Also read: I don’t feel extra pressure, just feel responsible, says Sania Mirza about the quest for an Olympic medal

Dutee is the first Indian woman to compete in the 100m Olympic event in 36 years, and the second ever Indian woman, after PT Usha competed in the 100m and 200m at the 1980 Moscow Games. And even though she has failed to go further in the individual event, her journey to this stage had been a remarkable one. For those who might recall, Dutee Chand had been banned for a considerable amount of time from competing in events ( including the Glasgow Commonwealth Games) , after a controversial hormone test which revealed excessive amounts of androgens( a condition known as hyperandrogenism), over the permissible levels authorised. The ruling has been overturned since, and since then she has gone from strength to strength.

Feature Image Credit: The Hindu

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I don’t feel extra pressure, just feel responsible, says Sania Mirza about the quest for an Olympic medal

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna moved one step closer to a medal at the Olympics by defeating the Australian pair of Samantha Stosur and John Peers in  the mixed doubles event on Friday. With a comfortable straight sets win of 7-5, 6-4, in a match that lasted 73 minutes, the pair are now through to the quarter finals, which increase the stakes and he pressure as well. The forthright Sania Mirza though has her own take on the pressure of performing at the world stage.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure. I just feel responsible every time I step on the court, whether at the Olympics or Grand Slam. It’s very tough. If you have to win the tournament, you have to win everybody. You have to hope for the best,” she said after clinching the pre quarter-final match today, reported by TOI.

Watch here to know more of the Sania Mirza story

Also Read: Did not achieve the “desired results”, says Martina Hingis about ending partnership with Sania Mirza

The ace tennis player, whose doubles partnership with Martina Hingis ended recently after the two decided to part ways, certainly had her wits about her when quizzed about the added pressure on athletes, and the conquest for the elusive medal at the Games. “People follow it (Olympics) every single day and morning. As athletes, we have dealt enough pressure, point after point. We can’t think about other aspects what happened outside. Hopefully it’s going to happen and we are going to win the medal or somebody else,” the world No 1 in WTA doubles ranking added.

Also read: Rio 2016: Weightlifter Sara Ahmed gives Egypt its first win with a bronze 

The Indians will face off the British pair of Andy Murray and Heather Watson next. A third timer at the Olympics, Sania would no doubt be looking to clinch a medal, something that has eluded her in her last two outings.  This comfortable win would definitely have been a confidence booster.

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Rio 2016: PV Sindhu serves a first round victory

The silver lining for the day from the Olympics. Badminton player PV Sindhu crushed Laurav Sarosi of Hungary in her first pool game 21-8 21-9 winning her first Group D match.

Also read: Did not achieve the “desired results”, says Martina Hingis about ending partnership with Sania Mirza

Sindhu started off brilliantly, taking an early lead over Sarosi. She didn’t let up from her aggressive game, taking the first set 21-8. The second set too proved to be easy for the Indian, and she closed it at 21-9, clearly having dominated from the beginning of the match.Being the World Championship bronze medallist twice, this first win was expected from Sindhu.

Her next match will see her face off against a trickier player in Li. If the fittest Indian clears the group, she could face eighth-seed Tai Tzu Ying from Taiwan. A potential quarterfinal could see Sindhu tackle China’s Wang Yihan, silver medallist in London.

India had a bad start in badminton campaign as the women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost their opening group match against Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo, Ayaka Takahashi 15-21, 10-21 in just 38 minutes.

Also read: Countdown to Rio: Tracking India’s Women Olympians

PV Sindhu’s win will bring some cheer to the Indian camp. her teammate Saina Nehwal still has her match to go later this evening.

Feature Image Credits: indianexpress.com

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Rio 2016: Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi knocked out in pre-quarters

A disappointing day for Indian archers at Rio. In the pre-quarters stage, both Deepika Kumari  and Bombayla Devi were defeated in their individual events. Kumari locked bows with the World No. 2 Chinese Tapei archer Tan Ya-ting of Taipei and failed to keep India’s hopes alive.  The Indian archer was unable to shoot any 10′s consistently and lost the match 0-3 (27-28 | 26-29 | 27-30). No doubt a big disappointment for her, as she had lost in the first round of the 2012 London Olympics.

On the other hand,  Devi who was competing with Alejandra Valencia of Mexico, lost the fourth set 25-23 to crash out of the Olympics.

Also read: At 18, Yusra Mardini is a refugee, but still an Olympian

The Indian archery contingent’s only hope now is Atanu Das as he will take part in the pre-quarters on Friday.

Also, Saina Nehwal will be playing later this evening, all eyes definitely on that match.

Feature Image Credit: Alcheron

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Rio 2016: Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa defeated by Japanese pair in their first match

Day 6 at the Olympics brought news that the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta.and Ashwini Ponnappa could not get past the world No. 1 Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo in the Women’s Doubles Group A opener.

Also read: Five things that make Dipa Karmakar a champion:

The Indians were under serious pressure from the beginning, as they were faced with the daunting task of playing number one seeds. The Indians started with a 5-2 lead but the Japanese pair soon raced ahead and at first break the score read 11-8. An error by Ponnappa sealed the first set for the Japanese 21-15. The Indian shuttlers then trailed 10-6 in the second set to Japan. After the interval in the second game, the Japanese pair lead by 11-6, after which the match was pretty much out of the hands of the Indians. The final score read 15-21, 10-21, and the match took just 38 minutes.

Also read: Did not achieve the “desired results”, says Martina Hingis about ending partnership with Sania Mirza

Jwala-Ashwini are still have 2 more games to go and will be seen in action next on Friday. Meanwhile, all eyes are on Saina Nehwal to get a win for the badminton team at Rio Olympics. Watch this space for uodates.

Schedule for all women players from India is listed below. Timings are in Indian Standard Time.

Aug 11 Agenda for Olympics

Feature Image Credit: indianexpress.com

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Rio 2016: Defending champion Serena Williams is knocked out of the Games

In an Olympic shocker, five time gold medallist Serena Williams crashed out of the Games after she suffered a loss of 6-4, 6-3 at the hands of Ukrainian Elina Svitolina on Tuesday. The 34-year-old American had already been knocked out of the doubles tournament along with sister Venus in the first round. 21-year-old Svitolina will now play against the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to notch up a seat in the semi-finals.

Also Read: Iconic Women Of Wimbledon

Nursing a shoulder injury, Williams was out of sorts throughout the match, up to a point where she served five double points in the seventh game of the second set. Her opponent took full advantage of her poor form, and went for the kill. Williams missed last month’s Rogers Cup in Canada due to the inflammation of her shoulder too.

Also read:Rio 2016: Gymnast Dipa Karmakar Becomes 1st Indian To Qualify For Vault Finals

“Obviously I am very disappointed. The better player won but I can’t wait for next time. That will be a really good match and I look forward to it. It was a great opportunity. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but at least I was able to make it to Rio. That was one of my goals.,” said Williams, as reported by Firstpost.

Watch this space to know more about Indian women #Rio: Schedule for the day

Rio August 10 Schedule for Indian Women

Williams had a 4-0 record against Svitolina earlier to this. The Ukrainian who is currently coached on tour by one of Williams’ former rivals, Justine Henin, got the chance to clinch the game due to the large number of unforced errors by the American. Svitolina broke 5-4 in the opener and sealed it with an ace in the 10th game.

Also read: At Rio 2016: Three women sprinters to watch out for

Meanwhile, men’s world number one Novak Djokovic also has had a first round loss. And just two top 10 seeds have made it to the quarter-finals in the women’s singles.

Feature Image Credit: Theguardian.com

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