A heart-breaking 1-3 defeat to USA robbed India 1 the gold medal but a historic-first bronze medal did manage to bring back the smiles.
A long period of suspense that preceded the final list of medallists was quite an agonizing one but proved worth it.
India topped the three-way tie for the bronze medal at 17 match-point after aggregating 396,5 tie-breaking points, ahead of USA’s 390 and Kazakhstan’s 352.
The law of averages finally caught up with Tania Sachdev and BhaktiKulkarni, the team’s strike-force on the lower boards, as they lost for the first time. That meant, the draws from K. Humpy and R. Vaishali on the top two boards did not help India’s cause. India 2 finished 8th and India 3 occupied the 17th spot.
Overnight leaders Ukraine and Georgia finished with 18 points following 11th round victories. Ukraine’s 3-1 victory over a tough Poland proved enough for gold. Georgia kept pace by beating Azerbaijan 3-1, Ukraine’s tie-break count of 413.50 - as against Georgia’s 392 - proved decisive.
India’s first medal since making its debut in the women’s Olympiad in 1978, came on a day when R. Vaishali, Tania Sachdev and Divya Deshmukh collected bronze medals for their performances.
The results (11th round, with match-points):
Women; India 1 (17) lost to USA (17) 1-3 (K. Humpy drew with Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim; R. Vaishali drew with Irina Krush; Tania Sachdev lost to Carissa Yip; Bhakti Kulkarni lost to Tatev Abrahamyan).
Kazakhstan (17) bt India 3 (15) 2.5-1.5 (Zhansaya Abdumalik bt Eesha Karavade; Bibisara Assaubayeva bt P. V. Nandhidhaa; Xeniya Balabayeva drew with Varshini Sahithi; Guliskhan Nakhbayeva lost to B. Pratyusha).
Slovakia (16) drew with India 2 (16) 2-2 (Zuzana Borosova drew with Vantika Agrawal; Eva Repkova bt Padmini Rout; Zuzana Hagarova drew with Mary Ann Gomes; Svetlana Sucikova lost to Divya Deshmukh).
Ukraine (18) bt Poland (16) 3-1: Azerbaijan (16) lost to Georgia (18) 1-3.
Final standings: 1-2. Ukraine, Georgia, 3-5. India 1, USA, 5. Kazakhstan, 8. India 2, 17. India 3.
Individual prizes (Board 1): 1. Pia Cramling (Swe), 2. Eline Roebers (Ned), 3. Abdumalik Zhansaya (Kaz) ; (Board 2): 1. Nino Batsiashvili (Geo), 2. Anna Muzychuk (Ukr), 3. Khanim Balajayeva (Aze); (Board 3): 1. Oliwia Kiolbasa (Pol) 2. Anna Ushenina (Ukr), 3. R. Vaishali (Ind 1); (Board 4): 1. Bat-Erdene Mmungunzul (Mon), 2. Maria Malicka (Pol), 3. Tania Sachdev (Ind 1); (Reserve): 1. Jana Schnieder (Ger), 2. Ulviyya Fataliyeva (Aze), 3. Divya Deshmukh (Ind 2).
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