Poor day for Indian shooters at Olympic qualifiers

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Indian shooters endured a disappointing day at the Asia Shooting qualifiers at the Karni Singh Shooting range here on Saturday with none of them managing to secure a quota for the Rio Games.

In the men’s Double Trap Md. Asab, the World No.7 in the event, had to settle for a bronze thereby missing out on a Rio Olympics quota. Asab and Ankur Mittal qualified for the six-man semi-finals in the top two positions shooting an excellent 142 and 141 respectively.

The extent of their performance can be gauged by the fact that Kuwait’s double Olympic medalist Fehaid Aldeehani shot 140 to qualify behind the two Indians. In the semi-finals Ankur started off on the wrong foot from the very beginning but Asab looked on course to qualify for the gold medal match-up and bag one of the two quotas available, but a protest which got rejected and one inexplicable double miss meant that he missed out on the Gold medal match and quota by one point ending with a score of 26.

Khaled Alkaabi of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) shot 28 and Fehaid scored 27 to reach the gold medal match-up and claim the two Rio quotas available. In the bronze medal match Asab, who suffered a shoulder injury just before the competition that resulted him in not training for five days, regained his bearings back and defeated Korea’s Hyun Woo Shin 26-24.

“I tried my best and am very disappointed. I took a pain killer in the morning for my shoulder injury and the effects were starting to wear off. Due to my injury I could not train properly for the finals here and it could have affected the final result today,” a visibly dejected Asab said after the medal ceremony.

Upcoming talent Akhil Sheoran made it through to the biggest final of his nascent senior career and looked set to grab one of the two Rio quotas available in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event, but eventually finished fourth to miss out by one position.

India had already had a quota through Abhinav Bindra.

Sheoran, competing in his first big event as a senior, came out with a creditable performance shooting a score of 620.1 in qualifying to make the final in eighth position. In the eight-man final, all except Kazakhstan’s Yuriy Yurkov were eligible for the two available quotas in the event.

Akhil was in contention for bronze and a quota till the 13th shot out of 20 before Iran’s Pourya Norouziyan got ahead of him on the 14th shot and held on. Akhil thus got eliminated in fourth position finishing a final round with a score of 163. The gold in the event was claimed by Naoya Okada of Japan while Yurkov won the silver. Iran claimed the bronze. The two Rio quotas thus went to Japan and Iran.

The day also saw the commencement of the qualification rounds of the women’s 25m Pistol event. Annu Raj Singh was lying fourth with a score of 289 while Anisa Sayyed lay 13th with 288 and Rahi Sarnobat lay in 21st position with a score of 285. They will be looking to win one of the three available Olympic quotas in the event on Sunday.

Sunday will also see the finals of the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event which also has three Olympic quotas on offer with India’s Lajja Gauswami and Elizabeth Susan Koshy as contenders.

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