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Rio Olympics 2016, India shooting: Mairaj Ahmad Khan finishes day 1 of Skeet qualifiers in 10th

Amit Sinha
SENIOR ANALYST
News
Published 12 Aug 2016, 22:53 IST
12 Aug 2016, 22:53 IST
Mairaj Khan
Despite a bright start, the shooter has put himself in a spot of bother ahead of the second day of qualifiers.

With Gagan Narang copping another heart-break in 50m Rifle Prone event, all hopes were pinned on India’s Mairaj Khan who was representing the country in the Skeet event at the Rio Olympics. Khan started well in the first round, gave his best in the second but again was hit by last round jitters to finish the day at 10th position. The shooter hasn’t exactly knocked himself out of contention but has made things very difficult for himself if he has to qualify on the second day for the finals.

Just like the Trap event, it was a Kuwaiti shooting under the IOA flag who started on a roaring note. Abdullah Alrashidi set the ball rolling with a score of 24. Sweden’s Marcus Svensson then stole Alrashidi’s thunder by scoring a perfect score in his first round. Scoring a perfect 25 in skeet is a hallmark of excellence and a feat any shooter will be proud of. Svensson’s feat saw Alrashidi drop to a joint 7th position.

India’s Mairaj Khan then took centre stage and stunned everyone with an exemplary display of shooting that saw him score 19 from his first 19 shots. However, as it has been with Indian shooters this Olympics, a costly slip-up is never too far away from a brilliant start and the slip up saw Mairaj end the first round with a score of 24 that saw him tied 7th at the end of the first round. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant start that needed further consolidation as other shooters were upping the ante.

Also read: Rio Olympics 2016: Disappointed NRAI chief hints at systemic flaws ailing shooting

In the meanwhile, Egypt’s Azmy Mehelba and Ukraine’s Mikola Milchev, who was the Gold medalist in the event 16 years ago, had joined Svensson at the top with a score of 25. Last time’s Gold medalist Vincent Hancock looked far from his London best and could score 23 only which put him on 15th position.

Next up, it was the turn of 20-year-old Italian Gabriele Rossetti to enthrall and excite as he kicked off the second round with a perfect 25. Svensson, however, continued his perfect run to notch up a half century with another set of 25. With things heating up, the need of the hour was for the Indian to put up something special and he didn’t disappoint. Mairaj got all his 25 shots bang on target to take his total to 49 which put him on tied-3rd at the end of second round and well in reckoning for a spot in the finals.

Some impeccable shooting was put on display in the final round for the day as none of the shooters were ready to concede an inch going into the final day of the qualifiers. Alrashidi scored a perfect 25 and so did Azmy Mehelba and Mikola Milchev. The hopes were high when the Indian took his aim and it looked like all going great before Khan missed two out of his last five shots to stumble to 10th in the standings with 72. The last minute goof up meant that the shooter will have a tough task on day 2 of the qualifiers and his chances would also depend upon others performing worse than their today’s performance. 

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 07:46 IST
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