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Tokyo Games, Day 5: Debutant boxer Pooja Rani enters quarters; Sindhu in knockouts

·2-min read
Pooja Rani Olympics
Pooja Rani (red) of India exchanges punches with Ichrak Chaib of Algeria in Tokyo. (Photo by Frank Franklin - Pool/Getty Images)

Indian boxer Pooja Rani (75kg) out-punched Algeria's Ichrak Chaib in her opening bout to enter the quarterfinals of her maiden Olympic Games on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Indian clinched it 5-0, thoroughly dominating a rival 10 years her junior. Earlier, reigning world champion PV Sindhu advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of women's singles badminton event but it was curtains for men's singles player Sai Praneeth at the Tokyo Olympics. (Click here for Day 5 schedule of Indian athletes)

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Sindhu, who had claimed a silver medal in the last edition in Rio, prevailed over world No. 34 Hong Kong's NY Cheung 21-9 21-16 in a 35-minute match to top Group J.

However, 13th seed Praneeth failed to bring his 'A' game to the table once again, going down 14-21 14-21 to Mark Caljouw of Netherlands in 40 minutes for his second defeat in Group D.

The Indian women's hockey team wasted chances galore to lose 1-4 against defending champions Great Britain, its third consecutive preliminary stage defeat which reduces the side's chances of qualifying for the Olympic quarterfinals.

The Indians were guilty of wasting opportunities in their first two games and the trend continued on Wednesday at the Oi Hockey Stadium as Great Britain punished them through strikes from Hannah Martin (2nd and 19th minute), Lily Owsley (41st minute) and Grace Balsdon (57th minute).

This Great Britain's second consecutive win in Pool A. For India, Sharmila Devi scored the lone goal in the 23rd minute.

The Indians needed at least a point from this game to be safe but they now will have to win their remaining two matches to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stage.

India had earlier lost 1-5 to world no.1 the Netherlands before slumping to a 0-2 defeat against Germany. Rani Rampal's side will next play Ireland on Friday.

Despite the score-line, it was a close match between world no.11 India and world no.5 Britain.

The difference between the two teams was that India had the better share of chances but Great Britain utilised more opportunities that came their way.

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