Sridhar crashes out of Olympics

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Beijing, Aug 11 (UNI) A visibly unfit Anup Sridhar today bade adieu to the Olympics as he lost to Shoji Sato of Japan in straight games in the second round of the Badminton competition here today.

The 29th ranked Indian, who was troubled by ankle injury, went down 13-21, 17-21 in 37 minutes.

Sridhar, who has career-victories over Athens Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat and former All-England champion Hafiz Hashim, had outclassed Portugal's Marco Vasconcelos in the first round but just could not do anything against World number 16 Shoji Sato.

Shoji, who had a 3-2 win-loss record against the Indian before the start of this match, began on a blistering note to race to a 6-0 lead before Sridhar managed a point.

Shoji, knowing well that his rival was having a stiff ankle, kept on tossing the shuttle all over and Sridhar tried hard to counter but could not move around the court with agility and quickness which the game demanded.

The Japanese built up a comfortable 14-8 lead but in the last stages of the first game Sridhar made a valiant effort to check his rivals march and he managed five points but that was not enough to stop Sato to claim the game and go up 1-0.

The game lasted 16 minute.

The 29th ranked Sridhar known for his power game and strokes could not make use of those two potent weapons because of the nagging ankle-injury but still managed to give Sato a run for the money.

In the second game, the Indian at one stage led 8-3 but the Japanese rallied back to close the gap to 8-10 and then unleashed some powerful smashes to take five points in a row to jump to a 13-10 lead and from there on he never looked back, though Sridhar managed seven more points but it was a case of too little and too late.

Sato adopted a simple ploy, he made Sridhar run around to test his fitness and succeeded in that. Anup failed the test and paid the price.

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