Md. Asib and Akhil Sheoran miss out on Olympic berths on day four of Asian Shooting Qualifiers
New Delhi, January 30, 2016: After three successive quotas on the first three days, day four of the Asia Shooting qualifiers being held at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting range here turned out to be a day of near misses for the Indian shooting squad. Quota hopeful Md. Asab, the world number seven in the event, had to settle for a Bronze medal in the event thereby missing out on a Rio Olympics quota.
Upcoming talent Akhil Sheoran in the Men’s 10M Air Rifle made it through to the biggest final of his nascent senior career and looked set to grab one of the two Rio quotas available but eventually finished fourth to miss out by one position.
Men’s Double Trap
In the men’s Double Trap, Md. Asab and Ankur Mittal qualified for the six-man semi-finals in the top two positions shooting an excellent 142 and 141 respectively. The extent of their performance can be gauged by the fact that Kuwait’s double Olympic medalist Fehaid Aldeehani shot 140 to qualify behind the two Indians. In the semi-finals Ankur started off on the wrong foot from the very beginning but Asab looked on course to qualify for the Gold medal match-up and bag one of the two quotas available, but a protest which got rejected and one inexplicable double miss meant that he missed out on the Gold medal match and quota by one point ending with a score of 26.
UAE’s Khaled Alkaabi shot 28 and Fehaid shot 27 to reach the Gold medal match-up and claim the two Rio quotas available. In the Bronze medal match Asab, who suffered a shoulder injury just before the competition that resulted him in not training for 5 days, found his bearings back and defeated Korea’s Hyun Woo Shin 26 to 24 to claim the Bronze.
“I tried my best and am very disappointed. I took a pain killer in the morning for my shoulder injury and the effects were starting to wear off. Due to my injury I could not train properly for the finals here and it could have affected the final result today”, said a visibly dejected Asab after the medal ceremony.
Men’s 10m Air Rifle
In the Men’s 10M Air Rifle where India already have a quota through Abhinav Bindra, Akhil Sheoran, competing in his first big event as a senior, came out with a creditable performance shooting a score of 620.1 in qualifying to make the final in 8th position. In the eight man final, all except Kazakhstan’s Yuriy Yurkov were eligible for the two available quotas in the event.
Akhil was in contention for Bronze and a quota till the 13th shot out of 20 before Iran’s Pourya Norouziyan got ahead of him on the 14th shot and held on. Akhil thus got eliminated in fourth position finishing a final round with a score of 163. The Gold in the event was claimed by Naoya Okada of Japan while Yurkov won the Silver. Iran claimed the Bronze. The two Rio quotas thus went to Japan and Iran.
Expressing his disappointment on the day’s events, Mr. Raninder Singh, President of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said, “It happens in sport and we are happy that our shooters are shooting great scores in qualifying. We hope to build on the momentum gained in the event over the past four days and win more quotas over the last three days of competition. Having said that today’s results, particularly in shotgun were disappointing.”
The day also saw the commencement of the qualification rounds of the Women’s 25M Pistol event. Annu Raj Singh was lying fourth with a score of 289 while Anisa Sayyed lay 13th with 288 and Rahi Sarnobat lay in 21st position with a score of 285. They will be looking to win one of the three available Olympic quotas in the event tomorrow.
Sunday will also see the finals of the Women’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions event which also has three Olympic quotas on offer with India’s Lajja Gauswami and Elizabeth Susan Koshy as contenders.