Indian shooters endured a poor start at the Tokyo Olympics with first-timer Elavenil Valarivan and Apurvi Chandela failing to qualify for the finals of the womens 10m air rifle event here on Saturday.
Making her Olympic debut, world number one Elavenil finished 16th in the qualifications after shooting 626.5 over six series of 10 shots each, while the more experienced Apurvi, who is also the finals world record holder in the event, settled for the 36th place after aggregating 621.9 at the Asaka Range.
The Indians were off to a decent start and even as Apurvi slipped after a disastrous second series, with two scores of 9.5 and 9.9, the 21-year-old Elavenil tried to remain in the reckoning with a fine performance in the third series, including shooting a perfect 10.9.
However, Elavenil, a World Cup Final gold-medallist, could not maintain the same form and a couple of 9s in the fifth and sixth series pushed her further down.
Apurvi, 28, who has won two World Cup gold medals during her excellent run in 2019, had finished 34th at the 2016 Rio Games.
Norways Jeanette Hegg Duestad topped the qualification with an Olympic qualification record score of 632.9 but missed the world record by 1.1, while South Koreas Heemoon Park was second with 631.7. American challenger Mary Carolyn Tucker finished third with 631.4.
In a very competitive field consistently producing high scores, Elavenil fell two points short of the total shot by Russian Olympic Committees Anastasiia Galashina, who grabbed the eighth and last spot in the final by setting the cut-off at 628.6.
Ironically, the womens 10m air rifle was the first event in which India clinched quotas for the Tokyo Games with Apurvi and Anjum Moudgil claiming them at the 2018 World Championship in Changwon, Korea.
Moudgils quota was given to Elavenil on the basis of the latters excellent run of form through the Olympic selection cycle.
The womens 10m air rifle event saw one of the largest fields in Tokyo, with a total of 50 shooters in the fray.
A total of 60 shots are fired in the qualification round in an allotted time of 75 minutes from a 0.177 inches caliber air rifle, and scoring is in decimals of 10 with a 10.9 being the perfect shot.
Normally, anything over 630 (out of a maximum 654) is good enough to make the 8-player final.
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