Indian shooter Deepak Kumar seventh at Rio World Cup
Following two medal-laden days at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, the Indian contingent failed to make the podium in the 10m Men’s Air Rifle Finals as its shooters failed to secure another Olympic quota.
Their star marksman Deepak Kumar made it to the Finals but could not advance further as he finished in seventh place after a poor start.
The Indian could only manage an average manage scores of 9.7 and 9.2 with his first two shots.
Kumar fought back well though, scoring 10.8 with his next shot to kick start his challenge back into life.
The 31-year-old kept his marks north of 10 after that, to finish with a total of 143.6.
That score though only got the Indian to a seventh place elimination, while Chinese shooter Yu Haonan clinched the gold with a world-record setting total score of 252.8.
Croatian Patrick Gorsa claimed the silver medal, but since he has already qualified for Tokyo 2020, the Olympic quotas were picked up by Patrik Jany and Dane Sampson, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Haonan wasn’t allocated a quota despite his gold medal as China already have filled two quotas for the Olympics in the 10m Men’s Air Rifle category, claimed by Hui Zicheng and Liu Yukun.
In the qualifying rounds, India’s other 10m Air Rifle shooters Yash Vardhan and Kiran Jadhav narrowly missed out on a place in the finals. They finished 9th and 11th respectively, with Vardhan missing a chance for progression by just 0.2.
Vardhan’s nerves got the better of him as he succumbed to his lowest score in qualifications in the final round of shooting, getting a score of 103.3 which ultimately cost him an opportunity at the Finals.
Deepak, on the other hand, narrowly squeezed through to the Finals after showing some consistency in the qualification round and never falling behind a score of 103.
India already has one athlete qualified for Tokyo 2020 in the 10m Air Rifle, with teenager Divyansh Singh Panwar booking his spot at the ISSF World Cup in Beijing earlier this year.
Kumar and company's next opportunity to join the starlet at the Games will come at the Asian Championships in Doha next November, where three quota places will be up for grabs.
Following a relative disappointing show on Friday, the India would now turn its attention to the women shooters, who will be in action on Saturday in the 50m Rifle 3 position event as well as the 10m Air Pistol event.
Some of their top female shooters like Anjum Moudgil, Kajal Saini will be action in the 50m Rifle event while 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manu Bhaker will be participating in the 10m Air Pistol event.