India's shooting team got off to a disappointing start at Olympics 2021. Elavenil Valarivan and Apurvi Chandela were eliminated from the women's 10m Air Rifle event after they failed to reach the scores required to qualify for the final.
Fifty shooters participated in the women's 10m Air Rifle Qualifiers at the Asaka Shooting Range. A shooter has to finish in the top-8 to qualify for the final. Elavenil Valarivan finished 16th and Apurvi Chandela ranked 36th, ending India's medal hopes from the women's 10m Air Rifle event. Elavenil Valarivan scored a total of 626.5 points and Apurvi Chandela managed 621.9 points from their respective 60 shots.
Three things we learned from women's 10m Air Rifle Qualifiers
#1. Ranking hardly matters
Elavenil Valarivan is the World No.1 in the women's 10m Air Rifle but it was of little consequence in Tokyo earlier today. Elavenil Valarivan started her qualifier well and her first 43 shots were above 10. It was the 44th shot that hurt Elavenil Valarivan's chances the most.
The shooter was wayward and scored a lowly 9.7. Elavenil Valarivan tried to bounce back from the poor shot with a series of 10.5. , 10.2, 10.6, 10.3, 10.2. 10.6, 10.6 and 10.3. But she slipped again on the 53rd shot. That shot fetched her 9.9 points and pretty much sealed Elavenil Valarivan' fate in the qualifier.
For context, the cut-off score (score of the shooter who finished eighth in the qualifier) was 628.5. It means Elavenil Valarivan missed the finals by the barest of margins.
#2. Apurvi Chandela was wayward and struggled from the start
Apurvi Chandela had a difficult qualifier and struggled right from the beginning. While Elavenil Valarivan's first score of 9 arrived only on her 44th shot, Apurvi Chandela scored 9.5 on her 14th shot.
There were five more shots in the 9s. Apurvi Chandela scored 9.9, 9.9, 9.6, 9.8 and 9.7 on her 20th, 42nd, 43rd, 49th and 59th shot respecetively. There is no way a shooter can win a spot in the final with six shots below 10.
#3. All is not over for Elavenil Valarivan
Elavenil Valarivan can still walk away with a medal from the Tokyo Olympics. She will also be competing in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event. She will be partnering Divyansh Singh Panwar there and praying for a better return.
Hopes are high from the mixed paring of Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar. However, for Apurvi Chandela, her Olympic Games journey has officially ended.