India’s medal hope Jitu Rai had a disappointing outing in the men’s 10m air pistol final, being the first to be eliminated after a wayward performance. He finished eighth.
Vietnam’s Hoang Xuan Vinh won the gold, country’s first ever in the Summer Games, with Brazilian Felipe Wu taking the silver and China’s Pang Wei claiming the bronze. The result is the second disappointment for China after American teenager Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thrasher won the gold in the women’s 10m air rifle, beating China’s Du Li (silver) and Yi Siling (bronze).
Hoang took the gold with a score of 202.5 in 20 shots, just 0.4 of a point ahead of Wu, a 24-year-old who is competing in his first Olympics. Defending Olympic champion Jin Jong-oh of South Korea failed to recover from a poor start and finished fifth.
Rai, a gold medallist at Incheon Asian Games 2014, shot an overall 78.7 in the final. The 28-year-old got off to a poor start and could not recover.
Rai was considered the best bet to land a gold for India. “Jitu is the only one in the contingent I can bet on to win a medal,” 2012 London Games silver medallist Vijay Kumar had said before the start of the event..
From a relatively unknown name, Rai hit the spotlight in 2014 when he won three World Cup medals in a span of nine days, starting with silver in 50 metre pistol at Munich. He then won gold in 10m air pistol and silver in 50m pistol at Maribor.
The run continued at the Incheon Asian Games with gold in 50m pistol. The result was the same at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. With each victory, Jitu built a reputation that was rarely associated with an Indian shooter.
He hit a trough last year. A bronze in air pistol at the Changwon (South Korea) World Cup in April was followed by another third place at the Asian Air Gun Championship in New Delhi. This had naysayers casting doubts on his ability to hit bullseye in Rio.
Playing in his maiden Olympics, Jitu showed signs of nerves right from the qualifying rounds and made it to the final by the skin of his teeth. He continued his nervous performance in the final as well.
The Naib Subedar from the Indian Army slipped to the eighth and last spot right at the start with a total score of 28.9 points after the first three shots.
He ran into further trouble with a 9.7 in his next shot. The 28-year-old continued to struggle with his next couple of shots as the shooters at the top of the pack continued to churn out consistent above 10 attempts.
On the brink of elimination with an overall score of 68.6, Jitu managed a 10.1 but it was not enough to keep him in the competition.
With agency inputs