Vikas Gowda flops, so does Mandeep Kaur

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{image-beijing+dark rings_16082008.jpg}Beijing, Aug 16: India's hopes in Athletics suffered a rude jolt when Vikas Gowda failed to qualify for the finals of the Discus throw event of the Olympic track and field competition here today.

Also failing to make it to the semi-finals was runner Mandeep Kaur who ran below par 400m race. The much hyped 25-year-old US-based Karnataka discus thrower flopped miserably as he threw 60.69mts which saw him finishing overall 22 in the field of 37 throwers.If North Carolina-based thrower Vikas had repeated his season's best of 64.83mts, which he had at Salinas, California, he would have ended as high as fifth.

The qualifying mark for the final was 64.50mts or the 12 best performers and the burly Indian neither crossed that mark nor he ended among the first 12.

Interestingly, Vikas had a fourth-place finish with 63.84mts in the Reebok Grand Prix in New York before coming here but today when he needed to produce his best he came up as a cropper.

The burly Indian who weighs 110kg, started poorly in group B with a throw of 59.58mts and then fouled his next and in the third he had a throw of 60.69mts.

There were 18 throwers in his group and he was placed 11th in it and that ended his second successive Olympic bid to make it to the finals.

In 2004 Athens Olympics, Gowda had missed a place in the final quite narrowly and this morning former NCAA champion failed to seize the occasion to make it despite all his potential that has been talked about for the past six years.

In 400m women event, Punjab's Mandeep ran a dismal race and clocked 52.88, though her personal best this season has been 51.74 which she had clocked at Madurai National.

The Punjab Police official finished 33 overall in the field of 50 runners and she was sixth among the seven runners in her heat 2.

So far, all the Indian athletes Preeja Sredharan (10,000m), Harwant Kaur and Krishna Poonia (discus), Vikas Gowda (discus) and Mandeep Kaur (400m), who have participated in events, have performed below par coming no where near their personal best on the basis of which they came here.


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