London: Experienced shuttler Parupalli Kashyap and teenage paddler Soumyajit Ghosh brightened an otherwise gloomy first day for India at the Olympic Games here on Saturday by winning their opening matches.

Kashyap outclassed Belgium's Yuhan Tan in straight games, winning 21-14 21-12, in a Group D match that lasted 38 minutes at the Wembley Arena. The 25-year-old world no. 21 takes on Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam in the next match on July 31.

19-year-old Ghosh prevailed over Brazil's Gustavo Tsuboi 11-9 14-12 7-11 12-10 5-11 12-0 (4-2) in a closely contested men's singles table tennis first-round match.

Siligury boy Ghosh came up with a composed showing, which belied his age and experience, against his Brazilian rival Tsuboi.

The performances of these two racquet wielders were the only plus points for the country on a day of total disappointment as competitions intensified after the grand opening ceremony yesterday.

Elsewhere, India suffered reverses in badminton, table tennis, shooting, rowing and boxing - the biggest being young medal hopeful Shiva Thapa's first-round exit in the boxing ring - and women's weightlifting.

India's hopes of a medal in badminton mixed doubles suffered a setback when V Diju and Jwala Gutta lost their opening group game.

The men's archery team exited at the pre-quarterfinal stage, woman paddler Ankita Das was knocked out without making a ripple, rower Swaran Singh came in fourth in his heats in single sculls and Soniya Chanu ended up seventh out of 12 competitors with a total lift of 171 kg in the 48 kg women's weightlifting event.

Among the ones to have suffered reverses, Swaran Singh gets a second chance to make amends through the repechage on Sunday.

However, the major disappointment was reserved in the ring when 18-year-old boxer Thapa could not live up to the pre-Games hype and got pounded by his Mexican rival Oscar Valdez 14-9 in the 56 kg class.

Thapa trailed 2-4 in the opening round, made a comeback in the second to clinch it 4-3 only to be punished hard in the final round, which he lost 3-7.

Six other Indians, including Beijing Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh, are set to make their appearances in the Games.

India also made a shaky start to their shooting campaign with Vijay Kumar failing to qualify for the final of the men's 10m Air Pistol event at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

The 27-year-old Army man from Himachal Pradesh finished a disappointing 31st out of 44 shooters with a score of 570, giving him no chance at all to make the next grade.

Off the field, the presence of an unidentified lady beside flag bearer Sushil Kumar during Friday's opening ceremony prompted the country's miffed officials to take up the issue with the Games organisers.


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