India's campaign in badminton doubles at the Olympics has ended with women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa failing to book a quarterfinal berth despite winning their last Group B match.
India's hopes now rest on only Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap in the women's and men's singles events, respectively. Jwala and Ashwini carved out a 21-16 21-15 victory in 34 minutes against Singapore duo of Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao last night but still failed to make the quarterfinal knockout stage by a difference of just one point.
India finished third in the table with a point difference of 3, while Chinese Taipei (21) and Japan (4) qualified to the quarterfinals from the group. Taipei, Japan and India won two matches and lost one but when the differences were calculated taking into account games won and lost and points won and lost, India were pushed to the third spot.
It eventually turned out to be a dismal end to the Indian pair's hopes of clinching a medal at the London Games. The pair, who won a gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, dominated the game against their Singapore rivals who could not match their superior opponents.
The Indians showed good understanding and skills to wrap up the first set in 17 minutes and maintained the momentum in the second set as well, which they clinched in 14 minutes.
P Kashyap, who stunned world number 11 Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam in pre-quarterfinals of the men's singles event yesterday, will today take on another giant killer, Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka in the last 16 stage here at 1:30 pm IST.
Saina Nehwal, meanwhile, will face her first tough challenge in the Olympics today when she takes on Jie Yao of The Netherlands tonight at 11:00 pm IST.
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