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Tokyo Olympics | Saurabh-Manu pair loses the plot after a bright start

India's Manu Bhaker reacts during the 10m Air Pistol Women's Qualification at the Summer Olympics 2020, in Tokyo on July 25, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Indian shooting contingent’s barren run at the Tokyo Olympics extended into the mixed 10m events at the Asaka Shooting range on Tuesday.

While the duo of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker made it to the mixed 10m air pistol final, none of the three other teams got past the initial hurdle.

The teenage duo was in dazzling form in the first qualification round, topping the standings with a score of 582, studded with 26 inner 10s.

Saurabh shot 98, 100 and 98, while Manu registered 97, 94 and 95.

However, in the second qualification round. Saurabh shot 96 and 98 but Manu managed only 92 and 94. The two finished seventh with a score of 380 while China’s Ranxin Jiang and Wei Pang led the pack with 387.

The Chinese beat the ROC team of Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov 16-14 in the final.

The second Indian pair of Abhishek Verma and Yashaswini Deswal finished 17th in the first qualification round. The Indian camp's hopes of a shot at a medal resurfaced with Manu and Saurabh. This was Jiang and Pang’s second medal of the edition, with both having won bronze in the 10m air pistol. Pang, 35, had won gold in Beijing in 2008 and bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

India’s challenge in the mixed 10m air rifle ended tamely as both pairs were not even close to qualification. Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar totalled 625.6 to be placed 12th, while Deepak Kumar and Anjum Moudgil shot 623.6 to finish 18th.

China won its second gold Qian Yang and Haoran Yang beat the USA’s Mary Tucker and Lucas Kozeniesky. to take their country’s gold medal tally to 10 - the highest at the Games so far.

The Indian team will now turn its attention to the 25m air pistol qualification, which will begin on Thursday. Manu will be in action for her third event at the Games. Rahi Sarnobat will also feature in the event.

Manu’s coach Ronak Pandit is confident of the 19-year-old bouncing back from two crushing losses. “It's getting more and more desperate for her. But we coaches will make sure that we keep her in good spirits and tell her that whether we had won the gold today or finished last, today gets over when the last shot is fired.

"We will start tomorrow on a clean note. Her performances in the 10m will have no bearing on the 25m pistol at all. And it’s a new range - had it been some continuation of 10m then maybe it would have been more difficult. But I don’t see a problem. She is very strong and I'm sure she is just waiting to prove her mettle.”

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:04:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/indians-misfire-in-10m-mixed-air-pistol-events-fail-to-make-finals/article35552407.ece

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