Manavjit, Vijay Kumar lose out on Olympic berth

Kynan Chenai nailed the Olympic quota for trap shooting with a spectacular performance, even as established stars, former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and London Olympics silver medallist Vijay Kumar lost out on the Olympic.

Vijay Kumar will not be taking part in the Rio Olympics   -  Sandeep Saxena

Kynan Chenai nailed the Olympic quota for trap shooting with a spectacular performance, even as established stars, former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and London Olympics silver medallist Vijay Kumar lost out on the Olympic berth in dramatic fashion, on the second day of the Asia Olympic qualifying shooting competition at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad.

Needing to shoot a perfect 25 on the last round to ensure a final entry and the right to fight for four of the six quota places on offer in men's trap, the 24-year-old Kynan responded brilliantly to the challenge by rising to the occasion.

It was a relief for the Indian camp, to put at least one in the final, after Manavjit had lost the race in the fifth round with a 23 out of 25, after having shot two perfect rounds earlier in the day. He had dropped five birds on the opening day in two rounds, and had made it difficult for himself. Prithviraj Tondaiman, on 49 overnight, struggled with a score of 22 in the third and fourth rounds, before saving face with a 24.

In effect, five were fighting for four quota places. However, it was not as simple as that, and Kynan, who had shot 123 out of 125 in the World Cup last year in Gabala, but had settled for the 12th place, tied with three others for the top slot in the semifnals, to ensure the elusive Olympic quota. It did not matter that he eventually missed the bronze to the former World junior champion Talal Allrashidi of Kuwait, as the primary task had been achieved.

“It is the best achievement in my career so far’’, said Kynan, who had not impressed in the last two World Championships with scores of 119 and 112, in the only chances that he got apart from the Gabala World Cup, to strike an Olympic quota.

Manavjit, who had competed in the last three Olympics, was gracious and applauded Kynan for his smart work. The difficulty of winning the Olympic quota, even for someone like world No.7 Manavjit, could be gleaned from the fact that only former World Champion Khaled Almudhaf of Kuwait had won the quota in the event for Rio from the whole of Asia.

Thus, Kuwait was eligible to win only one more quota, which Abdulrahman Al Faihan won in style, as an Independent Shooting Participant (ISP), as Kuwait had been suspended by the IOC. Two other quota places went to silver medallist Kun-Pi Yang of Chinese Taipei and the fifth placed Andrey Moglevskiy of Kazakhstan, who pipped compatriot Maxim Kolomoyets on the count-back after being tied on 11 in the semi-finals.

In comparison, the story of Vijay Kumar was a heart-breaker. Vijay qualified by topping the field with a score of 576, but ended fifth following a fifth series score of one out of five in the final. He was two points away from the leaders and one point behind the Qatari. There were two quota places available in rapid fire pistol, and only four of the six in the final were eligible to get them. Korea had already won two quota places in the event and thus the two Koreans in the final were only fighting for the medals.

The two Japanese, Teruyoshi Akiyama and Eita Mori, won the Olympic quota with the gold and bronze medals respectively.

India have added two more quotas (to the eight they had already achieved) for the Rio Olympics, the first coming through Heena Sidhu in women’s air pistol. In the two events on Friday, India have already exhausted its quota of two Olympic berths. The 50-metre free pistol quotas have been secured by Jitu Rai and Prakash Nanjappa. Apurvi Chandela has attained the quota in women’s air rifle.

With China and Iran out of the race, the three Indians Pooja Ghatkar, Ayonika Paul and Elizabeth Susan Koshy will fight for the quota along with the rest of Asia.

The results:

Men:

Trap: 1. Abdulrahman Al Faihan (ISP) 14 (12)3 (122); 2. Kun-Pi Yang (Tpe) 13 (12)3 (119)1; 3. Talal Alrashidi (ISP) 14 (12)2 (121); 4. Kynan Chenai 13 (12)2 (120); 5. Andrey Mogilevskiy (Kaz) 11 (119)1; 6. Maxim Kolomoyets (Kaz) 11 (120); 9. Manavjit Singh Sandhu 118; 10. Prithviraj Tondaiman 117; MQS: Zoravar Singh Sandhu 120; Anwer Sultan 118.

25m rapid fire pistol: 1. Teruyoshi Akiyama (Jpn) 28 (575); 2. Choi Yong Hoo (Kor) 25 (575); 3. Eita Mori (Jpn) 20 (575); 4. Oleg Engachev (Qat) 16 (571); 5. Vijay Kumar 14 (576); 6. Lee Young Hoon (Kor) 12 (571). MQS: Gurpreet Singh 581; Akshay Suhas Ashtaputre 564.