Rajput secures Rio berth

India finish fifth, to send biggest Oly team

 Sanjeev Rajput missed a podium finish but ensured India secured their 12th Olympic quota with a fourth place finish in the men’s 50M Rifle 3 position in the Asia Olympic qualifying competition at Dr Karni Singh shooting range on Tuesday.

India, who concluded the competition in fifth place (1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze), would now be sending its biggest shooting contingent to the Olympics. London Games had seen participation of 11 shooters. Japan finished on top followed by South Korea and UAE.  Japan won five quotas here, India four, while Korea and Iran got three each.

Rajput had made a strong start by finishing the qualifying stage with a fourth place finish (1163 points).  The eight-man final had only four participants eligible for three quota places on offer. The two-time Olympian, though, didn’t get the best of starts. He had excelled in the kneeling position in the qualifiers but was off-target in the final.

After three series (comprising 15 shots in total) of kneeling position, the 35-year-old Indian was languishing in seventh position. He, however, recovered splendidly in the prone position series, shooting regularly over 10, to begin the final series of standing position on fifth place.
He couldn’t reproduce the same touch in the standing position, where he had faltered in the qualifying also. His last 15-shot targets were all splattered, reaching as high as 10.5 and 10.7 but also dipping to 8.5 and 8.9. 

He briefly climbed to the third place, benefiting from Kazakhstan’s Yuriy Yurkov erratic scoring, but a 7.7 in the 41st shot pulled him down and thereby leading to elimination in the 43rd shot after scoring 9.3 with the final score of 429.5 

The gold was pocketed by SouthKorea’s Kim Jonghyun (461.4 points), Yurkov (451.7) grabbed the silver while Japan’s Toshikazu Yamashita of Japan secured the bronze medal (439.9)

As the three medallists were not eligible for the quota places, the three Olympic slots were assigned to fifth placed Qatari Vitaliy Dovgun (416.9), and Thailand’s Napis Tortungpanich (405.7), who finished sixth, apart from Rajput.

In the men’s skeet, young Indian Angad Vir Singh Bajwa narrowly missed making the final. A score of 119 would have been enough for him but Angad missed the last target to end up agonisingly at 118. No Indian could make it to the final with Man Singh finishing at 17th position (116) and Amrinder Cheema in 25th position (112)

The gold in men’s skeet was won by UAE’s Saif Bin Futtais who beat Kuwait’s Saud Habib in the gold medal match 13-12. UAE’s Saeed Almaktou took the bronze.

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