Rio Olympics: Mixed start for India as Rower Bhokanal enters quarters, women shooters flop
India's Rio Olympics campaign is off to a mixed start as the day one of the competitions saw rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal powering in to the quarterfinals in men's single sculls and women shooters crashing out of the 10m air rifle final.
The 25-year-old Pune-based armyman Bhokanal started the day on a promising note as he ended up third in the first heat of the day by finishing the 2000m race in 7 minutes, 21.67 seconds behind Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba (7:06.89) and Mexico's Juan Carlos Cabrera (7:08.27).
Bhokanal, who had qualified for the Games with a silver medal finish in the Asia-Oceania qualifier, was in second place for the first 500 metres of the race but started to lag behind once the Mexican in lane 2 picked up the pace around the 700 metres mark.
The well built Cuban and the Mexican then increased their lead from the rest but Bhokanal maintained his third position although he was more than 13 seconds behind the second placed Cabrera.
Even as there was some rejoicing in the Indian camp over the army rower's performance, there were setbacks from the shooting range, which provided the country with two medals in the 2012 London Games, with the elimination of the two women shooters.
Chandela shot an overall 411.6 to finish 34th out 51 competitors while Paul finished further down in 47th place with a total score of 403 in the 10m air rifle event in which China's Li Du set a new Olympic record of 420.7 to top the qualification stage.
The expectations for a better show from the Indian duo of Chandela and Paul, who had won the gold and silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, were dashed as they were found wanting in a top-class field.
23-year-old Chandela had secured an Olympic berth for her country by finishing third in the 10m Air Rifle in the 2015 ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea. Later in the year, Chandela had won silver in the World Cup Final held in Munich.
Paul, who is also 23, had won an Olympic quota for India with a silver in the Asian Olympic Qualifying Competition in January.
(With PTI inputs)