Indian shooters Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary failed to make the medal matches in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the Tokyo Olympics after finishing seventh in the second stage of qualification on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Bhaker and Chaudhary had topped the first stage of qualification, while Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Abhishek Verma, India's other entry in the discipline, finished 17th.
The teenage duo of Bhaker and Chaudhary didn't have the best start to the second stage. Bhaker shot 92 (four 10s, four 9s and two 8s) while Chaudhary shot 96 (six 10s and four 9s) for the duo to be placed at the bottom of the eight-team field.
The Indians improved in the next series, as Chaudhary shot 98 (eight 10s and two 9s) and Bhaker shot 94 (six 10s, two 9s and two 8s). However, relatively poor scores from Bhaker, including 8s in two of her last three shots, proved costly as they pulled the team's combined score down.
Raninder Singh, President of the National Rifle Association of India, said that there might be coaching changes on the cards after the Olympics, "Yes, definitely the performances have not been on expected lines and I have spoken of an overhaul of coaching and support staff as I feel something is lacking in getting our shooters prepared for these big occasions, because clearly the talent is there and we have seen it here as well.
Having said that we still have starts left and the team is fighting so let's continue to back the team and I am sure we'll get results. Post-mortems can wait till after the Games," he said.
Earlier, in the first stage of qualification, Bhaker shot 97 (seven 10s and three 9s), while Chaudhary shot 98 (eight 10s and two 9s), the teenage duo's combined score of 195 putting them on top at the end of the first series.
In the second series, Chaudhary shot a perfect round of ten 10s for 100, while Bhaker shot 94 (four 10s and six 9s), their combined total of 194 keeping them in first place.
In the third series, Chaudhary once again shot 98 (eight 10s and two 9s), while Bhaker improved by a point to shoot 95 (five 10s and five 9s), their combined score of 193 enough to keep them in first place.
Deswal and Verma, on the other hand, had a much less encouraging first series. Deswal shot 95 (five 10s and five 9s) while Verma shot 92 (five 10s, two 9s, an 8 and a 7) for a combined score of 187 for 15th position.
Deswal shot 95 (six 10s, three 9s and an 8) in the second series, while Verma improved slightly to shoot 94 (five 10s, four 9s and an 8), their combined total of 189 keeping them in 16th place.
Verma improved in the third series with 97 (seven 10s and three 9s), but Deswal's level dipped as she shot 91 (two 10s, seven 9s and an 8), for a total of 188. The duo had a combined total of 564-10x (x denotes an inner 10) to finish well outside the top eight required to advance.
10m air rifle mixed team
The two Indian pairs participating in the 10m air rifle mixed team event failed to progress beyond the first qualification stage.
The duo of Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar finished 12th with a total of 626.5 across three series each, while Anjum Moudgil and Deepak Kumar ended 18th out of 29 pairs with an aggregate score of 623.8 at the Asaka Range.
The mixed events are making their Olympic debut this year.
The top eight teams make the Qualification Stage 2 and the top four pairs in the second phase qualify for the medal rounds.
In the first qualification round, there are three series of 10 shots for each team member, while in the second, members of the top eight pairs of the first round shoot two series of 10 shots.