Kamesh Srinivasan

Another disappointing show by the Indians as Mansher finishes eighth and Manavjit 12th

BEIJING: The expected battle for gold between two-time Olympic champion Michael Diamond and defending champion Alexey Alipov eventually turned out to be a battle for the bronze, while the Indian hopes were washed away in the rain in the trap event here on Sunday.

China consolidated its position in the gold medal count in shooting with Guo Wenjun winning the women’s air pistol gold in style with an Olympic record.

Maiden triumph

David Kostelecky of the Czech Republic beat a strong field with a perfect 25 in the final for the trap gold, beating Giovanni Pellielo of Italy by a three-point margin.

Given the superb form he showed in rain throughout the day, it was surprising to note that this was Kostelecky’s maiden win in a world-level competition.

“It is a hard game. I think it is too early to feel anything. I think God helped me today because it was a tough competition in the rain,” said the 33-year-old from Holasice (Czech Republic), as he lay in the rain with the gun raised in celebration.

The 146 that the Czech managed was below what Diamond and Alipov had shot in the previous two Olympics — 149 — but it was marked as an Olympic record following the change of rules after the last Games, which allow only one shot for a bird in the final compared to the two earlier.

The Indian marksmen, world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh, tried to gain lost ground but failed.

While Mansher salvaged some pride after his disastrous 20 in the third round, with two rounds of 24 that saw him finish eighth overall with a 117, Manavjit blew away his chances with a 22 in the fourth round. A 24 in the last round eventually put him at the 12th position with a 116.

“I should have got a 25 in the fourth round this morning,” said Manavjit, quickly recovering from the disappointment of not making the final.

“This year has not been good for me. You have to accept it to come out of it. There is nothing much to analyse. I have really worked very hard, planned well and done all the right things. It is difficult to have an average season and expect to shoot your best in the Olympics,” said Manavjit.

“It was one bad round. I don’t know how it happened. I have been struggling with a painful shoulder and possibly went back to my mistake (a poor technique) during that round. If I had been in form, I would have adjusted. The gun was just not moving the target,” said the 42-year-old Mansher, who, however, rated this as his best performance in four Olympics.

In the final analysis, Mansher missed the final by two points and Manavjit by three.

However, the best shotgun in the world, the much-decorated Diamond, ranked No. 1 following two gold medals and a world record in recent World Cups, first fought in the tie-break to make the final with a 119, and then fought with Alipov for the bronze before settling for the fourth spot.

“I felt a bit nervous and disappointed. But fourth is better than fifth,” said Diamond, who had finished eighth in the last edition in Athens after winning the gold in Atlanta and Sydney.

“I am totally satisfied with my medal,” said Alipov, who wept after ensuring the bronze. He was gunning for gold after entering the final in joint lead with the eventual champion with 121 out of 125.

Guo pips Paderina

The 24-year-old Guo’s gold medal in women’s air pistol was China’s second in shooting. Being ranked No. 1 in the world following gold medals in the World Cups in Milan and Munich, Guo was the favourite and did not buckle under home pressure the way Du Li did on the opening day.

Guo pipped Natalia Paderina despite the Russian setting an Olympic record in the qualifying phase with a 391.

The 39-year-old Nino Salukvadze, who had won the air pistol silver behind Jasna Sekaric of Yugoslavia, and the sport pistol gold for Russia in the Seoul Games in 1988, won the bronze for Georgia, two decades later.

Now representing Serbia, Jasna Sekaric (42), who has five Olympic medals including the gold, apart from 21 World Cup crowns, finished sixth.

  • Olympics 2008-Day One
  • Olympics 2008-Day Two

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