K Srikanth and P V Sindhu kept the medal hopes alive in badminton with facile wins but boxers drew a blank after Vikas Krishan was ousted in the quarterfinals on a mixed day for Indian athletes in the Rio Games.
The 21-19 21-19 win for Srikanth, ranked 11th in the world, lifted the sagging spirits of India on the 10th day of competitions as he became the second shuttler after P Kashyap in the London Games four years ago to reach the last eight in men’s singles.
Later, two-time World Championship bronze-medallist P V Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s singles competition after notching up a dominating straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying at the Olympic Games here.
The 21-year-old from Hyderabad outclassed eighth seed Tai 21-13 21-15 in a 40-minute pre-quarterfinals clash here. She will next take on China’s Wang Yihan, the London Olympics silver-medallist.
However, India’s slim hopes of a medal in the women’s 3000m steeplechse disappeared when Lalita Babar, the first track athlete to qualify for an Olympic final in 32 years, could finish only 10th in 9 minutes, 22.74 seconds.
She had set a new national mark of 9:19.76s when she qualified for the final two days ago, but could not improve on it in a race won with a searing run to the gold by Bahrain’s diminutive Kenya-born Asian Games champion Ruth Jebet in 8:59.75s.
Despite her 10th place finish, Babar’s effort was still the best performance by an Indian in a track event after PT Usha’s fourth-place finish in the 400m hurdles in 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The 27-year-old from the drought-prone Satara district in Maharashtra had become the second Indian woman after Usha in 1984 Los Angeles to qualify for a final at a track event at quadrennial extravaganza.
2015 World Championships gold winner Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkomoi of Kenya took the silver in 9:07.12s while American Emma Coburn won the bronze in 9:07.63s.