Heena Sidhu secures maiden Asian Games individual medal with bronze
By Bharat Sharma
(Eds: Updating with more details and quotes)
Palembang, Aug 24 (PTI) Heena Sidhu put behind a modest qualification to win her maiden Asian Games individual medal today, her bronze in the women's 10m air pistol taking India's haul at the Jakabaring Shooting Range to nine.
Sidhu came from behind in the finals and was just 0.1 from the lead after she produced a 10.8 on the 21st shot. Her next shot was a 9.6 and her overall score of 219.2 could only give her a bronze.
Sixteen-year-old Manu Bhaker was left disappointed again, this time in her main event, finishing fifth.
The gold went to China's Wang Qian, whose 240.3 was a Games Record. South Korea's Kim Minjung took the silver, aggregating 237.6.
It was another medal for Sidhu in a major event, having won the gold and silver in the 25m pistol and 10m pistol at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Bhaker had finished ahead of her senior teammate Sidhu at Gold Coast in the 10m event.
Sidhu, a two-time World Cup gold medallist and former world number one, had recovered well in the qualification earlier in the day to finish seventh with 571 while Manu was third with 574.
"It is all because of my efforts in the finals (that I have won a medal). The qualification was low. I am not happy with it at all," Sidhu told PTI when asked about her effort in the high-pressure finals.
"In the finals, I kept fighting from the first shot. In the beginning, the group was more on the left (of the bulls eye). I kept giving clicks to my sighter so that I could hit the bulls eye but I should have given more clicks.
"In the finals you are under pressure. You are not sure that 'are you making the mistake or is it just the grouping that has shifted'. So I was trying to be very defensive. I think if I would have been more decisive and given more clicks in the beginning, I am sure I would have won the gold," said the 28-year-old from Ludhiana.
Sidhu was picked for only one event and Bhaker competed in three 10m pistol, 25m pistol and mixed team event. Ahead of the Asian Games, Sidhu had said that she should have been in the mixed team as per the selection criteria.
"The competition is over. There is no point talking about it now. Though I think I should have been in the mixed team," she added.
Heena and Manu were fifth and sixth respectively after the first series of five shots each. Bhaker made a slight surge in the second series but was still nowhere near a medal.
After 14 shots of the 24-shot final, Heena moved to third with a 10.6 and 10.3, and was able to maintain it for bronze.
Bhaker could not meet the rising expectations but would be fired up to do her best at the upcoming World Championships. Her coach Jaspal Rana said Bhaker should be given more time.
"She is still very young. She needs to learn how to cope up with the pressure in big finals. The experience will come with time. You need to be mature enough to be winning medals at this level or the Olympics," Rana said