Weighed least by the expectations, but determined to the core, Joydeep Karmakar showed that he was indeed a world class prone shooter.
He came almost half a point close to a medal before ending up a creditable fourth in the 50-metre rifle prone event in the Olympics at the Royal Artillery Barracks here on Friday.
He had not qualified for the Games but had stayed ahead of the bunch at home, including Hariom Singh who had shot 598 in winning the Olympic quota place in the World championship in Munich in 2010, to get the nod from the national association, as the quota belongs to the country and not to the shooter who wins it.
Shoots like a champion
Even though he had shot only in two finals at the world level, and had bagged a silver in the Sydney World Cup in 2010 when he shot 599 in qualification, Karmakar shot like a champion, as he came up with a series of 10.1, 10.6, 10.7, 10.5, 10.7, 10.2, 10.0, 10.2, 10.7 and 10.4 to eventually miss the medal by 1.9 points.
“I was a different person today. I was totally focused and sure that I would give my best.
“I am not happy with the fourth place, but am happy with my performance,” said the cherubic Karmakar, happy that he had proved people wrong.
As nine shooters tied for five of the eight spots in the final, with 595, Karmakar, who had shot a series of 99, 98, 100, 98, 100 and 100, had to go through the qualifying shoot-off and just about pulled through with a score of 51.6.
“I started shakily as it was the first shoot-off for me and it was 9.9.
“I shot better after that,” he said about the next four shots in the shoot-off that fetched him a berth among the elite eight.
Even as he struggled to get the government clearance to train with Abhinav Bindra’s coach Heinz Reinkemier in Germany, Karmakar had found that his stock of “barrel matching” ammunition had been ‘replaced’ during the training stint with the Indian team in Hannover, Germany.
“Hurdles make me stronger,” said Karmakar, even as he pointed out that the replaced batch of ammunition proved ‘the best’ for him.
Martynov wins gold
World No. 1 Sergei Martynov of Belarus was perfection personified as he won the gold with two world records including a perfect 600.
Lionel Cox of Belgium pipped Rajmond Debevec of Slovenia by 0.2 points to the silver, in a gripping final in which Karmakar held his ground.
Air rifle bronze medallist Gagan Narang was also on course to make the cut for the final but a 97 in the fifth series spoilt his chances. He shot 98, 100, 100, 98, 97 and 100 for a total of 593 that placed him 18th among 50. He will compete in the 3-position event next.
The results: 50m rifle prone: 1. Sergei Martyov (Blr) 705.5 (FWR) 600 (EWR); 2. Lionel Cox (Bel) 701.2 (599); 3. Rajmond Debevec (Slo) 701.0 (596); 4. Joydeep Karmakar 699.1 (595); 18. Gagan Narang 593.