London: Geeta Phogat couldn’t emulate Saina Nehwal and MC Mary Kom. Considered a medal prospect before the Olympics, the 20-year-old Bhiwani girl failed to come good at the ExCel Arena despite getting a second chance to return to the mat through the repechage system.
Pitted in the repechage after her first-round loss, Geeta was needed to chalk out back-to-back wins against Tetyana Lazareva of Ukraine and Castillo Renteria of Colombia to bag the bronze in the manner Sushil Kumar did it in Beijing four years ago. While Sushil cashed on to the opportunity to create history, Geeta went down to the Ukrainian rather tamely. Tetyana won a 3-0 verdict effortlessly.
The first Indian to qualify for women’s wrestling, the freestyler in the 55 kg fought gallantly in the first round before losing to Tonya Lynn Verbeeek of Canada. And when the Canadian reached the final, Geeta returned to the arena to fight it out again.
“Nothing went right for me,” conceded Geeta. “Perhaps, it was my lack of experience on the big stage that made all the difference. Against Tetyana, I lost the first round badly (0-8). So I had to go all out in the second. She was far more experienced.”
In another disappointment, Tintu Luka crashed out of the women’s 800m semi-finals despite producing season’s best timing. The 23-year-old Luka clocked 1:59.69s to finish sixth in the second heat. She was 0.52s off her personal best but it was a vast improvement than her showing in the first round heats on Wednesday.
Usha, who was present at the Olympic Park, said she was reasonably happy with her ward’s performance.
“I thought she ran the first 200m too fast. She could have gone for the kill in the end. Overall, she did a good job. That she ran the race in less than two minutes is a fine effort,” she said.