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Thursday thunder: Indians put up a stellar show at the Tokyo Olympic Games

The Indian men's hockey team put up a stellar performance to beat defending Olympic champions Argentina 3-1, a win which also saw them book a place in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (Image courtesy: Twitter/@TheHockeyIndia)

Rio silver medallist in badminton P V Sindhu, boxer Satish Kumar and the men's hockey team brought a huge cheer in the Indian camp at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games by entering the quarterfinals of their respective events on Thursday morning.

Following up her teammate and wife Deepika Kumari's stupendous performance yesterday, archer Atanu Das also moved to the next round of the men's individual event after defeating former Olympic champion and third ranked Oh-Jin Hyek of Korea.  

In shooting, India's Manu Bhaker finished the women's 25m Pistol qualification round placed at the fifth position while Rahi Sarnobat is at 25th spot with a score of 287.

On a day when it won its last Olympic gold in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the Indian men's hockey team put up a stellar performance to beat defending Olympic champions Argentina 3-1, a win which also saw them book a place in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.  

This was India's third win in the Pool stage which has put them at the No.2 spot in the pool A table with one more match remaining to be played against hosts Japan on Friday.

Reflecting on the victory, India’s Rupinder Pal Singh said: "Feeling great after the win but there's a lot of things to improve yet because the important games are coming in a few days."

Playing his first match at the Tokyo Games, Varun Kumar opened India's account in the 43rd minute while  Vivek Sagar Prasad (58) and Harmanpreet Singh (59) also contributed to India's sensational win against the defending Olympic champions Argentina in their fourth Pool A encounter at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Having secured two wins (3-2 against New Zealand; 3-0 against Spain) and a bitter 1-7 loss against World No.1 Australia in their Pool A campaign so far, India's intent to put Argentina under the pump right from the start was evident with dominant ball possession.

"Good performance today. This is what Argentina can do, they sit back in the game, and then all of a sudden they score a corner. You know these things can happen when you play a team like Argentina. We again put our opportunities away, we created enough. But what was good is that we didn't let that frustrate us, we stayed patient and stuck with the game plan," said India's chief coach Graham Reid.

"I'm very happy, it can be a bit stressful too for me but we just now need to play well against our next opponent – Japan. We need to play it as though it is the quarter-finals and we will be keeping an eye on what happens in the other pool at the same time," he added in his post-match comments.    

India will next play hosts Japan tomorrow at 3 PM IST.

Shuttler Sindhu, who won a silver in the last edition of the Games, also inched towards another podium finish with a superb show against Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt in the pre quarters. In a 41-minute duel, the reigning world champion beat Blichfeldt in straight games 21-15, 21-13.  

Playing aggressive and deceptive shots that kept her opponent on the run throughout the match, Sindhu outplayed Mia in just 41 minutes.

Sindhu now takes on Japan's Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinal.

The Indian boxers too have continued with their splendid show in Tokyo. After Lovlina Borgohain on Tuesday and Pooja Rani yesterday, Satish Kumar (+91kg) also moved to the quarterfinals on his Olympic debut with a 4-1 triumph over Jamaica's Ricardo Brown.

All three Indian boxers are now a step away from ensuring at least a bronze medal for India at the Games. A win in their next bout will take them to the semis and both losing semi-finalists get a medal in the boxing competitions at the Olympics.

Another Indian boxer, champion Mary Kom takes on Colombia's Ingrit Valencia in her second bout in Tokyo later today. 

Also Read: Mirabai, Mary Kom, Lovina and Deepika unsheath India's women power at Tokyo Olympics