This time around India sent its largest-ever shooting contingent and medal hopes were always high from them. Most of the Indian shooters that India sent were 1st or ranked and won medals at the recently concluded ISSF World Cup. It started with Women 10m Air Rifle where India fielded two of the best shooters in Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan. Both were medal prospects but failed to get clear the qualification round as both were placed 16th 36th respectively.
The poster boy of the Indian shooting contingent Saurabh Chaudhary created history by becoming the first Indian to top at the qualification round. In the finals though, it was again a meltdown and heartbreak for Indian fans who were expecting not less than gold from him. Manu Bhaker the teenage sensation had an equipment issue and missed out after failing with her last shot. Yashwini Deswal too was placed outside the top 10 and the Indian competition was over then and there itself in the women’s individual shooting event.
10m Rifle event in which again India fielded two of the best shooters of the world, failed miserably as both veteran Deepak Kumar and Divyansh Singh Panwar failed to get hold during the qualifications and Indians individual men’s rifle contest ended. In Men’s Skeet through some hopes were raised after the veteran Indian Shooters Mairaj Khan and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa were placed 9th and 14th respectively after the conclusion of day 1.
India has already won a silver and that’s the only medal that India has in their bag thus far. In badminton, P.V. Sindhu won her first match easily and the biggest surprise was rowers Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal reaching the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls semi-finals. If they are able to win a medal this would be the first time that India will have an Olympic medal in rowing.
They are at a touching distance from grabbing a medal and the whole of the country will be cheering for those 2 men to bring the medal home. In Table Tennis, a mixed team was out but individually all the participants have won their first-round matches. Mixed events in the shooting are now the only hopes for India at shooting and hopefully in Men’s skeet where there is still some hope left.
India won medals in shooting in 3 straight Olympics from 2004 to 2012. In 2016, Abhinav Bindra missed the bronze by some decimals. Hopefully, the pair of Saurah Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker raise their games in the mixed event as they are the only hopes that India has now in the shooting.
A surprise can always come as there are still 5 more events left for Indian shooters. China has been domination the shooting alley and has already won 2 gold in shooting. Tennis fans also faced some disappointment as Sania Mirza & Ankita Raina have been bowed out of the tournament and also Men’s singles Sumit Nagal has been down and out in the second round.