Indian shooting draws a blank in Rio

Chain Singh, who has not been keeping good health owing to clots in his blood vessels in recent weeks, shot 1169 for the 23rd place in the rifle 3-position event. Gagan Narang who had already competed in the air rifle and prone events, could muster only a total of 1162 that placed him 33rd.

Chain Singh competes in the rifle 3-position event in Rio de Janeiro on Monday.   -  Reuters

Indian shooting drew a blank for the first time in four Olympics since 2004, as Gagan Narang and Chain Singh finished low in the rifle 3-position event, the last competition at the Olympic Shooting Range in Deodoro, on Sunday.

Chain Singh, who has not been keeping good health owing to clots in his blood vessels in recent weeks, shot 1169 for the 23rd place.

The last spot in the final went at 1174, which Chain had scored many times in the international arena.

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Chain had 391 in kneeling, 398 in prone and 380 in the standing position. Gagan Narang who had already competed in the air rifle and prone events, could muster only a total of 1162 that placed him 33rd. He had rounds of 383 in kneeling, 395 in prone and 384 in the standing position.

It may be recalled that Sanjeev Rajput, who had won the Olympic quota but was denied a ticket to Rio and had the ignominy of seeing his quota exchanged to a shotgun quota for trap, had recently won the World Cup silver in Baku, albeit with a low qualification score of 1167.

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After the silver medal by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in Athens, gold by Abhinav Bindra in Beijing and the silver by Vijay Kumar and bronze by Gagan Narang in London, Indian shooting was unable to strike a medal in Rio.

Abhinav Bindra missed the medal by a whisker in the shoot-off in air rifle, Jitu Rai had made the air pistol final while skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan missed a berth in the final following a shoot-off, after an impressive total of 121.

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Jitu Rai, the World Championship silver medallist and Asian Games gold medallist, missed a final berth in free pistol with a seven on the penultimate shot in qualification.

For the 12 shooters, who competed in 18 events in all, there were a few heartbreaks of being so near yet so far, but overall, Indian shooting will need a lot of introspection to tide over the crisis scenario.

Niccolo Campriani of Italy, defended the 3-position gold that added to his rich collection, as he had won the air rifle gold earlier. He beat the qualification topper Sergey Kamenskiy of Russia who had shot an Olympic record 1184 by 0.3 point with a total of 458.8. Alexis Raynaud was third with a total of 448.4. Campriani had incidentally qualified in the eighth place with 1174, and had in fact ensured his berth ahead of Petar Gorsa of Croatia on the basis of 62x to 55x in terms of inner-10s after a tie for the last spot in the final.

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