Below par showing by Anjali, Avneet

Beijing, Aug 14 (UNI) Anjali Bhagwat's third Olympics and Avneet Kaur Sidhu's debut ended in a fiasco as the two Indian shooters gave below par performance and failed to qualify for the finals of the 50m Rifle 3-position event of the Olympic shooting competition here today.

The two shot poorly to finish way down the leader board finishing 32nd and 42nd place respectively in the field of 43 shooters ending any hope of the podium finish.

The gold in the event was won by China's Li DU who set up a new Olympic record with a total of 690.3 (589,101.3) the Silver was claimed by Czech Republic's Katerina Emmons with 687.7 and Cuba's Englis Yaima Cruz took the bronze with 687.6 points.

The 39-year-old Anjali, who was pinning her hopes on this event, after finishing 29th in the 10m Air Rifle event here on August 9, flopped as she shot 571 while Avneet's score was 552.

The Maharashtra shooter, who qualified for this Olympics from 50m Rifle 3-position, could not reproduce the form which could have taken her into the final.

Her score of 571 was four points less then what she had shot in the Athens Olympics, 2004.

The Indian started on poor note as she shot 94 in prone, 93 in standing and 96 in kneeling to total (283) in the first round and that effectively ended her challenge.

She improved a bit in the second round-97 in prone, 96 standing and 95 kneeling- to total 288.

Her final score read Prone 191, Standing 189, Kneeling 191 that totalled 571 which was very low in the field and she had to be content with the lowly 32nd place.

Anjali slowed down while shooting prone, she took longer time to shot and that put pressure on her.

This year's Arjuna award winner Avneet Kaur Sidhu will also not have fond memories of her first Olympics. The 27-year-old shooter from Bhatinda, Punjab performed even more poorly than Anjali as she took last but one place in the leader board.

Avneet had first round of 287 ( 95 prone, 90 standing, 87 kneeling) and then collected 265 in her second round (95, 93, 92).

Her final score was prone 190, standing 183, kneeling 179 which got here a place above the 43rd and the last shooter in the field was Australian Susan McCready who shot 550.

Though It was not Avneet's favourite event but she took part in it because a slot was available and coach Lazlo Szucsak and wanted her to gain some important practice in this level of competition.

Avneet had also taken part in the 10m air rifle event in which had finished 39.

The shooters did not talk to the mediapersons but Lazlo Szucsak spoke on their behalf saying that the shooters were short of practice as they had no ammunition for last two years.

According to the Hungarian coach, Avneet Kaur was not well prepared for this particular event, ''She needs experience.'' The coach was of the view that Avneet was not in the best shape of her shooting carrier.

About Anjali the coach said, he was expecting a score of 580 but she did not achieve that.

Lazlo was also of the view that to prepare for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics, the training programme for the shooters should start from next months itself.

''The Indian shooters need at least 270 days of strenuous training if they have to achieve success in the coming International events,'' the coach said.

Lazlo said that one of the reason of Abhinav Bindra's success was that ''he was clever enough to stay out of the domestic circuit and concentrated in the European circuit where the competition is much tougher and of World level and that has paid off handsomely.'' UNI HSB RKM AS1235

Story first published: Thursday, August 14, 2008, 13:06 [IST]
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