India at Rio Olympics, Day 8: Heartbreak for Indians as Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna lose in semi-final

Sania Bopanna Indian AcesRio de Janeiro: It was heartbreak for the Indians on Day 8 at Rio Olympics as India’s best medal prospects – the mixed doubles tennis pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna so far – lost their semi-final match to Americans Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram, here on Saturday. However, they will now fight for the bronze.

However, there was something to cheer about in the track and field event as Lalita Babar became the first woman in three decades to enter the final of a track event at an Olympic Games

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, who could have at least won a silver had they won their semi-final match, started off strongly against the Americans, winning the first set 6-2. But they lost the grip on the match in the second set and thereafter lost from an advantageous position to Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram 6-2 2-6 3-10. The Indians will now fight for the bronze medal.

In track and field, Lalita brought some cheers to the Indian camp as she became the first woman in 36 years to enter the final of a track event when she shattered the national mark to reach the 3000M steeplechase final. Lalita qualified for the women's 3000m steeplechase final after finishing fourth in the qualifying heat 2 with a new national record time of 9 minutes, 19.76 seconds. Meanwhile, Sudha Singh was eliminated after a poor run in heat 3as she clocked 9:43.29 for the 30th spot.

Nirmala Sheoran finished a distant 35th overall in 400m preliminaries after ending up sixth out of seven runners in heat 1 in 53.03 seconds.

In shooting, shooter Gurpreet Singh failed to qualify for the men's 25m rapid fire pistol final after finishing seventh in the qualifications with 581, while Mairaj Ahmad Khan finished ninth after losing in a shoot-off in men's skeet.

The Indian women’s hockey team was totally outclassed by Argentina as they lost 0-5 for their fourth successive loss in five matches in Pool B. They are out of the fray.

Meanwhile, rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal finished 15th overall in men's single sculls after coming in first in his final ranking race clocking 6:54.96.

In badminton, women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa suffered their third successive loss in their final Group A match against Thailand's Supajirakul Puttita and Taerattanachai Sapsiree. They lost the match 17-21 15-21.