Saturday, October 23, 2021

Famous Fourths: Indians who missed the bronze by a whisker

Reading Time: 4 minutes 

No athlete wants to settle for the dreaded fourth-place finish at the Olympics. At Tokyo 2020, golfer Aditi Ashok came the latest to join the club, which features half a dozen other Indian players or teams who have missed the bronze by a whisker.

Here are some other instances:

Milkha Singh (1960 Rome Olympics, 400m)

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‘Flying Sikh’, the late Milkha Singh, missed out on a bronze when he misjudged his opponent’s speed to be pushed to fourth spot behind South Africa’s Malcolm Spence by a mere 1/10th of a second. Milkha did not win an Olympic medal in the three editions – 1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo — he participated in and it remained a painful memory for the legend till his last days.

Source: Olympics.com

PT Usha (1984 Los Angeles Olympics, 400m hurdles)

The sprinter, fondly called Payyoli Express, missed the 400m hurdles bronze by 1/100th of a second to finish fourth behind Romania’s Christina Cojocaru. Usha clocked 55.42 seconds, a new national record. This followed after one of her competitors had a false start, which she claimed had “broken her rhythm”.

READ ALSO: Rajeev Balakrishnan, former Indian Olympian, now an Aussie athletics coach

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Joydeep Karmakar (2012 London Olympics, 50m rifle prone)

Karmakar qualified for the finals in his pet event with a score of 595 in what was an extremely tough competition. In the final, he scored 104.1 and, with an aggregate score of 699.1 he finished fourth, behind the bronze medal winner, Rajmond Debevec of Slovenia. A cramp in his right calf muscle saw him fight through excruciating pain.

abhinav bindra
Source: Twitter

Abhinav Bindra (2016 Rio Olympics, 10m air rifle)

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games gold medallist in 10m air rifle finished fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics in his event. Italy’s Niccolo Campriani won with a score of 206.1. Bindra, who was competing in his last Olympics, took fourth place with 163.8 points after losing a shoot-off with Serihy Kulish of Ukraine for bronze.

READ ALSO: Winning Olympic medals the only mark of success for Indian athletes?

dipa karmakar
Pictured here on the uneven bars. Source: Youtube

Dipa Karmakar (2016 Rio Olympics, vault)

The then 23-year-old from Tripura, the first woman gymnast from the country to make it to the Olympics, came fourth in the women’s vault finals, with American legend Simone Biles taking the top prize with a final score of 15.966. Dipa received a final score of 15.066 for executing the dangerous ‘Produnova vault’, also called the ‘vault of death’ because of the degree of difficulty.

Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza. Source: IANS

Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna (2016 Rio Olympics, Mixed doubles)

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna lost 1-6, 6-7 to Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradceka of the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal match. The Indian duo, which raised hopes of a medal with two consecutive victories to make the last-4 grade, lost in slightly more than an hour. Mixed doubles was India’s best bet for a medal in Rio as only 16 teams figured in the draw.

The Indian women’s hockey team at Tokyo 2020. Source: IANS

Women’s hockey team (1980 Moscow)

The team came close to winning the bronze medal as women’s hockey made its Olympics debut. However, India lost to the Soviet Union 1-3 in their final round-robin league match to finish fourth among six teams.

Women’s hockey team (2020 Tokyo Olympics)

A brilliant campaign ended in tears as India lost to Great Britain 4-3 in the bronze medal match after fighting back from 0-2 down in the second quarter. The girls had made a scintillating run to the semifinals after losing their first three matches.


READ ALSO: ‘Northeasterners only visible when they wear a medal’

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