Shooters, swimmers fare poorly

August 14th, 2008 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 14 (IANS) The guns have fallen silent for India after Abhinav Bindra’s golden feat. The two shooters on view went out without even a whimper, while the swimmers saw their hopes drown sans a ripple on a rain-marred sixth day of competition at the Beijing Olympics Thursday. The morning brought gloom to the Indian camp, as women shooters Anjali Bhagwat and Avneet Kaur Sidhu fired erratically to crash out of the challenging 50 metre rifle three position at the qualification stage.

In the evening, swimmers Virdhawal Khade and Ankur Poseria added to the disappointment with poor finishes to bow out after the heats at the national aquatics center.

Competing at her third Olympic Games, Anjali seemed to crumble under pressure. The 38-year-old shooter managed only 571 out of 600, after having shot around 585 for a considerable time before coming here. She shot 191 in prone, 189 in standing and 191 in kneeling which gave her an overall 32nd spot in the qualification round of the event.

Her teammate Avneet, on her Olympics debut, found herself out of depth as she totalled 552 to finish 42nd. She shot 190 in prone, 183 in standing and 179 in kneeling.

Their Hungarian coach Lazlo Szucsak, summing up the dismal showing, said: “Avneet needs experience and I think she was not prepared enough. Of course, no one expected her to win a medal but she was not in the best shape of her shooting career and it was a very ‘okay’ sort of performance.”

As for Anjali, he added: “I expected her to shoot 580-plus. She was under pressure and this is surely disappointing when you see her score below her ability”.

Indian challenge ended in the pool, with the two remaining swimmers finishing seventh out of eight competitors in their respective classes.

In men’s 50m freestyle, teenager Khade failed to make it to the semi-final traversing the distance in 22.73 seconds.

Poseria also fared miserably in 100m butterfly, clocking 54.74 seconds to take the penultimate place.

India’s lone sailing competitor N.S. Johal in the Finn category and the only remaining rower Bajranglal Takahar in single sculls did not have to take to the waters as their events could not take place due to inclement weather.

The races will be held Friday.

All eyes are now on the showpiece track and field competition, which begins Friday, which also marks India’s 62nd Independence Day. The country has fielded 17 track and field competitors, but a medal looks unlikely.

with India clinching the country’s first individual Olympic gold from 10 m air rifle Monday, India now occupy the 24th slot in the medals tally.

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