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India Suffers Triple Blow as Shooters Bhaker, Sarnobat & Boxer Simranjit Disappoint at Tokyo Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Boxing - Women's Lightweight - Last 16 - Kokugikan Arena - Tokyo, Japan - July 30, 2021. Simranjit Kaur Baatth of India and Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand in action.
© REUTERS / UESLEI MARCELINO

Indian shooters, including teenage sensation Manu Bhaker, who had one of the biggest medal prospects, had a disappointing run at the Tokyo Olympics. While Bhaker made headlines after her gun malfunctioned in the 10m air pistol qualification event, the likes of Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, and Rahi Sarnobat were never in medal contention.

The Indian shooting contingent's upsetting campaign in the Japanese capital continued on Friday as both Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat were knocked out of the 25m pistol qualifications (rapid fire stage). The pair failed to finish inside the top-8 at the Asaka Shooting Range on Friday.

The dismal results of the 25m pistol event have also extended India's medal drought in shooting at the Olympics to nine years.

Vijay Kumar was the last Indian shooter to win a medal in the quadrennial sports mega-event, a feat he accomplished by bagging a silver medal in the London Games in 2012.

​Bhaker, who placed fifth on Thursday after scoring an impressive 292 in the precision stage, couldn't continue her momentum in the rapid fire round on Friday.

The 19-year-old athlete only managed 290, finishing 15th overall in a field of 44 shooters.

On the other hand, senior pro Sarnobat could only muster a total of 573 (287+286), ending the competition in 32nd place.

In shooting, only the top-8 shooters qualify for the finals.

Like Bhaker and Sarnobat, boxer Simranjit Kaur also had a disappointing outing as her journey at the Games ended with a heavy 5-0 defeat to Thailand's Sudaporn Seesondee.

Appearing for India in the women's boxing lightweight category (60kg), Simranjit Kaur seemed to have paid the price for her ultra-aggressive approach at the beginning of the contest.

The 26-year-old Indian started the bout in an impressive fashion, catching her Thai rival Seesondee on the backfoot with her attacking tactics.

However, the momentum swung rapidly as Seesondee came up with some amazing hooks, leaving the Indian out of breath at the conclusion of the first round.

From there on, it was one way traffic as Seesondee never allowed Simranjit to get in any sort of rhythm, eventually coasting to a lopsided 5-0 triumph.

The 29-year-old Thai star, who thrashed Simranjit in her opening bout in Tokyo, is a silver medalist at the 2018 Asian Games and the World Boxing Championships held in Jakarta and Delhi respectively.

Indian boxer Ankit Khatana rated Simranjit's performance as poor.

"There were high hopes from the Indian boxing team, but the performances in Tokyo have left us utterly disappointed", Khatana told Sputnik on Friday.

"Simranjit's failure to execute her strategy against the Thai girl cost her the match", he added.

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