During the qualifying round of the women’s 10m air pistol event, Manu Bhaker lost close to 20 minutes due to a technical snag. It led to an exit from the women’s 10m air pistol event at the Tokyo Olympics here on Sunday
When the pistol’s cocking lever broke down, she was left to shoot 44 shots in 55 minutes.
“Normally, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds and we couldn’t have claimed more time, so I had to tell Manu to start shooting as we had already lost a lot of time,” pistol coach Ronak Pandit told PTI.
Bhaker had to go to a designated area to get her pistol checked and repaired, as no repairing is allowed near the range for safety reasons. She had to go along with her coach and a member of the jury.
“55 minutes were remaining for 44 shots when the malfunction took place and when she came back after getting it sorted (the cocking lever was replaced), which we got in a record time, she was left to shoot 44 shots in 36 minutes,” Ronak, a former India shooter, said.
Once Bhaker was back to the firing point with the problem tended to, she was left with only 36 minutes for her remaining shots, an improbable task in any level of competition.
At the range, more agony awaited the 19-year-old with 4-5 minutes lost in checking the repaired gun in the sighter.
The shooter lost some crucial time, putting her under a lot of pressure as she returned in the qualification round. Bhaker opened with a dominating 98, followed by 95, 94, and a 95 dropped out of the top-10.
She came back to manage a 95 again. The cut-off was 577. However, despite starting with an impressive 98, including five 10s in the first series, Bhaker finished the event in 12th place with a total score of 575, falling a mere 2 points short off a top 8 finish to qualify.
She was so close that if that last shot was an inner 10 she wud have been in the finals even after going through a complete weapon breakdown in between the match. Stop judging athletes on numbers coz maybe that’s the only thing u can understand. Start understanding Performance!!
— Heena SIDHU (@HeenaSidhu10) July 25, 2021
“But, even with all the problems that she has faced today, an inner 10 in the last series would have taken her in the finals,” the coach added.
This is not the first time that the shooter has suffered due to technical issues. She had a similar experience during the ISSF World Cup in Munich in 2019, which offered quota places for the Tokyo Games. She came back strongly to grab the quota in another event of the same tournament.