Rio De Janeiro: Former world No 1 Heena Sidhu became the fourth Indian shooter to be eliminated in the qualification round of their respective event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing 14th in the 10m women’s air pistol event at the Olympic Shooting Centre on Sunday.
Viewed as one of India’s big prospects for a medal, Sidhu – who had won the gold medal at the Asia Rio 2016 Olympics Qualifiers to claim her Rio berth struggled to produce the consistency of her competitors.
After five shots in the opening series, Sidhu – the 2013 World Cup gold medalist – was at 15th place with a score of 48. After seven shots, her score progressed to 66 and eventually she closed the first series with a score of 94. Though the start to the second series was better, she but finished at 26th position with a score of 95. That meant she had to put in a seriously improved showing in the final two series, but it was not to be.
In the third series, Sidhu improved at one stage to 19th but fell back to 21 at the end of it with a cumulative score of 285. That signaled the end of her competition, effectively. Sidhu’s qualification round exit adds to the overall disappointment of India’s shooters so far. On Saturday as the Olympics got underway, the pair of Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul failed to qualify in the women’s 10m air rifle event. Chandela – a World Cup Final silver medalist and Commonwealth Games gold winner – finished 34th with a score of 411.6 while Ayonika ended at 43rd place with a final score of 407.
In the men’s 10m air pistol qualification, Gurpreet Singh ended 20th in a field of 46 shooters and exited early, but Jitu Rai did well to reach the final after qualifying in sixth place with 580 points across six series. At the summit, the 29-year-old exited after three shots with a score of 78.7. He finished eighth out of eight shooters, in what was his maiden Olympics appearance.