Young Chinese shooter Yang Qian clinched the first gold of the Olympic Games, emerging victorious in the women’s 10m air rifle, even as top Indian shooters, Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan, had a forgettable outing here on Saturday.
Russian Anastasiia Galashina took the silver, while Nina Christen of Switzerland bagged the bronze.
Yang, who was ranked sixth in the qualification with 628.7 points, scored 251.8 points in the final, beating Russian Anastasiia’s 251.1 points to begin China’s hunt for medals at the quadrennial games.
Trailing by a mere 0.1 point ahead of the two final shots, Yang saw the gap widened despite a 10.7-point shot, as her rival made an impressive 10.8.
However, when it came to the last shot that would define the eventual champion, Anastasiia shot a rank bad 8.9 to concede the Olympic title to Yang, who had a sub-par 9.8.
Earlier, Norway’s Jeanette Hegg Duestad led the way into the finals, topping the qualifying standings with 632.9 points, which was a Qualification Olympic Record (QOR).
South Korea’s Park Heemoon (631.7) and USA’s Mary Tucker (631.4) were placed second and third respectively. The others who qualified for the eight-shooter finals were South Korea’s Eunji Kwon (630.9), France’s Oceanne Muller (630.7), China’s Yang Qian (628.7), Nina Christen of Switzerland (628.5) and Russian Anastasiia Galashina (628.5).
India’s campaign ended in the qualification round itself as Elavenil and Apurvi failed to make it to the finals.
Elavenil, the world No 1 in the category, failed to find form as she managed a score of 626.5 out of a possible 654 with her 60 shots in the qualifying round. She finished 16th in a field comprising 50 competitors.
Elavenil’s best in qualifying has been in the range of 632-633 but she failed to find her rhythm and form on Saturday.
Apurvi could shoot only 621.9 and was placed 36th as the top eight shooters made it to the final.
The 15-member Indian shooting contingent has had reached Tokyo after a lengthy training-cum-competition camp in Zagreb, Croatia and has come into the Olympic Games with lot of hopes, having done well in international competitions in the intervening period between the 2016 Rio and the Tokyo Olympics.
Elavenil started slowly at the Asaka Shooting Range as she had scores of 104.3 and 104.0 in the first two series of 10 shots. She bounced back with 106.0 in the third series but the 21-year-old could not keep up the momentum in the next 30 shots as she came up with scores of 104.2, 103.5 and 104.5.
Apurvi shot 102.5 in the second series, 102.2 in fifth and 103.6 in the sixth series as her challenge fizzled out.