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Olympics: Sanjeev Rajput, Aishwary Tomar fail to qualify; Indian shooters to return empty handed



India’s shooting team will return without even one medal from Tokyo Olympics as Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Sanjeev Rajput failed to qualify for men’s 50m rifle three positions final on Monday. Tomar and Rajput, who were looking to put an end to India’s lacklustre performance at the shooting event, finished the qualification round at 20th and 32nd positions respectively. 

Interestingly, for this particular event, Rajput had won India’s first Olympic quota at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro in 2019, while Tomar secured the second quota at the Asian Shooting Championship in Doha later that year, which the Indian shooters dominated throughout.

However, the outing in the Japanese capital has proved to be a far cry from the shooters’ unprecedented show in 2019.

Barring Saurabh Chaudhary in the men’s 10m air pistol, none of the Indian shooters could make the finals in Tokyo, with some even failing to register competitive scores.

Now the onus is on Rajput and Tomar to ensure the team caps off the campaign on a good note.

While the 40-year-old veteran Rajput is appearing in his third Olympics, Tomar, 20 is making his Games debut.

World number two Tomar has enjoyed a good run of form in the run-up to the Games, having won the 50m rifle three positions gold medal at the World Cup in New Delhi in March and then making the finals at the World Cup in Osijek, Croatia, in June-July.

He also cleared the qualifying hurdle in the men’s 10m air rifle event of the same tournament.

Rajput, ranked six in the world, finished sixth at the World Cup in New Delhi. However, he was eliminated in the qualification stage of the World Cup in Osijek.

The country’s shooters belied expectations with their disappointing show in Tokyo. While India’s medal hopeful, 19-year-old Manu Bhaker failed to win one, things continued to go from bad to worse at the shooting range as Anjum Moudgil and Tejaswini Sawant failed to make the finals of the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event, settling for the 15th and 33rd position respectively.

(With PTI inputs)

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