Rifle and pistol shooters gear up for mixed events, no finalists in skeet

 The Indian shooters are keeping their fingers crossed for the squad's young guns who will try to end the medal drought in the Tokyo Olympics in the 10m air pistol and air rifle mixed team events here on Tuesday.

On Monday, India's Angad Vir Singh Bajwa finished 18th while his senior compatriot Mairaj Ahmad Khan ended 25th in the men's skeet event, failing to make the six-man finals by some distance.

In the 10m air pistol mixed team event, the formidable pair of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker will fancy their chances after a terrific run in recent years, during which they dominated almost all major competitions.

Abhishek Verma and Yashaswini Singh Deswal will be the other Indian team participating in the event.

Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan will represent India in the 10m mixed rifle team event with Deepak Kumar and Anjum Moudgil being the other team.

A total of 20 pairs will take part in the 10m air pistol qualifications with the challengers coming from Russia, Iran, China, France and Serbia.

The 10m mixed rifle event will see participation from 29 pairs with the biggest challenge expected to come from Hungary, Russia, USA, China and Germany.

In the first qualification round of both the events, there will be three series of 10 shots for each team member while in the second, members of the top eight pairs of the first round will shoot two series of 10 shots.

In both the pistol and rifle events, the team with the higher combined score of single shots fired by each team member on command gets two points with one point awarded for a tie. The first team to reach 16 points with a difference of two, wins.

Earlier in the day, the 25-year-old Angad shot 120 across five series and Mairaj could manage only 117 at the Asaka Range.

Placed a creditable 11th overnight and eyeing a finals berth at the end of the first three rounds, Angad missed his target thrice on the second day of the qualifying to bow out of contention without a fight.

His sequence of scores read 24, 25, 24, 23, 24.

On the other hand, Mairaj could not improve on his overnight position and ended the competition with scores of 25, 24, 22, 23, 23 for a total of 117.

In the skeet qualifications, each shooter pulls the trigger 125 times across five series and from eight shooting stations arranged in a semi-circle. The top six qualify for the finals, where they shoot 60 targets.

Angad holds the world record in skeet with 60 out of 60, achieved at the Asian Shotgun Championships in Kuwait, in 2018.

He had shot another 60/60 next year, in New Delhi, to getter the better of Mairaj on way to defending his Nationals crown.

Angad missed two targets out of 75 to be placed 11th on count back at the end of the third round on Sunday.

Mairaj had 71 and was placed 25th out of the 30 shooters in fray.

Vincent Hancock of the USA won his third Olympic gold with a score of 59 out of 60 in the men''s skeet final, with Denmark's former world champion Jesper Hansen winning silver and Kuwait's 58-year-old Abdullah Alrashidi repeating his bronze-winning effort from the 2016 Rio Games. 

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