Veteran Tejaswini Sawant secured India’s 12th Olympic quota in shooting but missed out on a medal in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event in the 14th Asian Championship here on Saturday. Provided she is picked in the final shooting squad for next year’s Tokyo Games, it will be her maiden Olympic appearance, having missed the bus in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
The former world champion bagged the quota for next year’s Tokyo Games by virtue of making the finals of the 50m rifle 3 positions event in the championship.
Out of the eight finalists, six of them were ineligible for various reasons, giving India one of the three available quotas in the event.
The 39-year-old from Maharashtra’s Kolhapur reached the final at fifth position after shooting 1171 in the 12-shot qualifications across the three positions of kneeling,prone and standing.
However, in the finals, Sawant fought well but had to be satisfied with a fourth-place finish. The seasoned Indian shot 435.8 in the finals at the Lusail Shooting Range.
India also won nine medals in all competitions through the day including three more gold. Sawant’s score was way above her previous best score in qualification in the new longer format introduced only in this current Olympic cycle, helping her finish fifth and ease into the eight-woman final.
It also helped secure a quota place as six other finalists had either booked their individual quotas or their respective National Olympic Committees (NOC) had already exhausted their limit of two quotas per event. Though she could not win an individual medal, she combined with Kajal Saini and Gaayathri Nithyanadam to bag the team bronze.
Sawant was third after the second series but fell behind in the later attempts, finishing with an 8.8.
Sawant, who also competes in the 50m rifle prone, has won many medals, including gold at the World Championship, World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.
In 2010, she became the world champion in the 50m rifle prone event in Munich with a world-record equalling score. She was the first Indian woman shooter to win a gold medal at the Worlds.
China’s Mengyao Shi won the gold medal with 457.9, while the silver went to Yesugen Oyunbat of Mongolia (457.0). The bronze and the second available quota was won by Japan’s Shiori Hirata (445.9).
The third quota went to Thailand’s Chotphibunsin Thanyalak, who was placed ninth in the qualification with 1168.
The other Indians in fray, Saini and Nithyanadam finished 13th and 16th in the qualification individually, with scores of 1167 and 1165 respectively.
Shooting in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category, Sunidhi Chauhan shot 1164.
India also continued its pursuit of a quota in shotgun with the men’s skeet team in contention after day one of qualification. Joint world record holder Angad Bajwa missed only one bird out of 75 while Olympian Mairaj Ahmed Khan missed two and Smit Singh three.
Darshna Rahore was the best-placed Indian on the first day of women’s skeet qualification, her score of 69 placing her in 12th position, while Ganemat Shekhon shot 66 to lie 17th and Saniya Sheikh, with a score of 65, was in 18th position.
In the men’s 25m centre fire pistol, Gurpreet Singh won an individual silver with a score of 586, and combined with Yogesh Singh and Adarsh Singh to bag a team bronze. The trio aggregated 1730.