FOR INDIANS here, Sunday was gloomy and we aren’t just talking about the weather. Washed away in the rain were hopes of trap shooters and archers for whom the Olympics ended in a whimper. Shrouded in a haze all of last week, the rain lashed Beijing with such ferocity that someone said, “the heavens were weeping over India’s show here”.
World Championship gold medallist Manavjit Singh Sandhu and former Commonwealth and Asian Games champion Mansher Singh, who had dismal third rounds on Saturday, failed to qualify for Sunday’s final. And the women’s archery team of Dola Bannerjee, Bombayla Devi and Vardhineni Pranitha exited in the quarterfinal losing to hosts China.
Bad day for shooters
HILLS SILHOUETTED against the backdrop, misty, wet and dark, the stage resembled a Harry Potter potboiler set. Even before the staccato of shotgun shots ended over the hills, Mansher walked out of the arena shaking his head. “Just disappointing,” he said, before entering the dressing room. “Just don’t know what happened. Let me get over it.” Did I see moist eyes? Or was it raindrops? The hurt though rang clear in his voice.
Mansher emerged out of the dressing room more composed. “I just want to take a break,” said the veteran shooter who finished eighth with 117.
“After that I will take a call. I want to be back with my family. I haven’t been with them for the last six months.”
For Mansher, the conditions weren’t ideal. The rain forced him to change from lenses to spectacles and he was unable to use his filters. “But that's not an excuse,” he said.
“I should have shot better yesterday. For the first few days I was not shooting well here. I barely managed to get scores of 22, which is not good. Towards the later half I started doing better. Whatever, it is this is disappointing.” His next targets are the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2010. “I started with the Commonwealth Games,” he said, with a wry smile.
THE WOMEN archers were off target by five points. They failed to hold their nerves and lost to China whom they beat almost a year ago at Lords to win the tri-nation MCC Cup.
The Olympic Greens Archery arena was slushy. The conditions were challenging as the archers pulled out arrows and took aim. Led by Dola Bannerjee, the Indians tried their best but failed to secure a winning score. V. Pranitha, who was making her debut here, faltered in the second end managing a score of just 5.
Even the Chinese could not capitalise, managing only a score of 6 in the same end. Fighting till the second end, India then fell behind. The Chinese trio of Chen Ling, Guo Dan and Juan Zhang won 211-206.