London 2012: No medals but sports institute proud of Olympics show
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After nine of their athletes qualified for the Olympics, the Army Sports Institute (ASI) would not have anticipated an empty-handed return from London. But despite the lack of medals to show for their efforts, ASI Commandant Col R S Bishnoi has termed his athletes' performance "satisfying."
"Before the Games started, we were expecting around two-three medals — maybe one in archery and two in boxing," said Bishnoi. "The archery result (Tarundeep Rai lost in the second round of the individual competition, while the men's team, which included the ASI-trained Rai, lost to Japan in the first round) was disappointing considering the expectations we had, but overall the performance of our athletes was satisfying."
Looking beyond the medal count, the ASI contingent certainly had its bright spots. In the 20 km walk, Irfan Thodi finished 10th, while setting a new national record. In the 50-km walk, Basanta Bahadur Rana also bettered the national mark. But the standout performance came from the boxers. "Four of the seven (male) boxers at the Olympics were from ASI," said Bishnoi. "I'm proud of how they trained and how they performed there, especially Devendro (Singh). If he stays injury-free and is backed up well psychologically, he has the hunger and talent to win many medals."
Devendro came within a few points , during a close quarterfinal bout against Irishman Paddy Barnes, of securing a bronze medal in the light flyweight category. Welterweight Vikas Krishan and light heavyweight Sumit Sangwan, meanwhile, found themselves on the wrong end of 'controversial' calls from the officials.
Krishan, originally adjudged to have won his pre-quarterfinal bout against American Errol Spence, was sent home after the opposition team appealed the referee's decision and had it overturned. An official protest, however, didn't help light heavyweight Sangwan when he was adjudged to have lost his first round bout 14-15 to Yamaguchi Falcao of Brazil - a decision that the commentators termed "daylight robbery."
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