Shooting in Tokyo Olympics: Angad, Mairaj draw a blank again

India drew a blank in shooting for the third consecutive day as Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan failed to advance from the men's individual skeet qualification round.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan during the men's skeet qualification round on Monday. - GETTY IMAGES

India drew a blank in shooting for the third consecutive day as Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmed Khan failed to advance from the men's individual skeet qualification round at the Asaka Shooting range here on Monday.

Angad finished 18th, while Mairaj 25th. The former, making his Olympic debut, had been in raging form on Sunday when he shot 24, 25 and 24 to total 73. With only the top six qualifying for the final, Angad, who holds the world record of 60/60 in a final (Asian shot gun championship, Kuwait City, 2018), had to come out all guns blazing to remain in contention. However, he shot 23 and 24 in the last two rounds to slip down the ladder and ended his campaign with a score of 120.

Mairaj, who managed only a 22 in his third round and was on the backfoot coming into the second day, registered 23s in both rounds to finish 25th out of 30 shooters. France’s Eric Delaunay topped the qualification standings with a new qualifying Olympic record of 130.

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However, it was skeet legend Vincent Hancock who ruled the final. He clinched his third Olympic gold with a new Games record of 59, while Denmark's Jesper Hansen, who won the 2013 skeet World championship, bagged the silver. Kuwait’s Abdullah Alrashidi, who had bagged the bronze at the 2016 Rio Games as an Independent Olympic athlete, finished third again. He represented his nation this time and was not wearing an Arsenal jersey and causing a social media flutter as he did in Rio.

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The Indian contingent will hope its shooters can find their groove when the mixed events get underway on Tuesday. India will have two teams in each event. Teenage shooting sensations, Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary, and the duo of Abhishek Verma and Yashaswini Singh Deswal will join forces in 10m air pistol mixed. Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar, and Deepak Kumar and Anjum Moudgil will compete in 10m air rifle.

The Indian shooters have failed to live up to their billing so far. And there could be no better way to silence the critics than by finishing on the podium come Tuesday.

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