Abhinav Bindra gets fourth Olympic quota place
Former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra won the Olympic quota place in men’s air rifle with a sixth placing in a strong field of 136 shooters from 58 countries in the shooting World Cup in Munich on Thursday.
Four of the eight finalists, from China, Russia and Belarus, had already ensured Olympic quota places or the shooters were not eligible to claim a quota place as the countries concerned had already taken the maximum possible two quota places in the event.
Thus, the 32-year-old Bindra had to beat one of the other three to grab one of the three Olympic quota places on offer for the Rio Games. Bindra placed ahead of aspirants Stevan Pletikosic (Serbia) and reigning Olympic champion Alin George Moldoveanu (Romania) to grab the fourth quota place for the country behind Jitu Rai, Apurvi Chandela and Gagan Narang.
The bronze medallist, Oleh Tsarikov of Ukraine,and the seventh placed Stevan Pletikosic of Serbia won the other two quota places in men’s air rifle.
It was an impressive performance by Bindra as he shot a series of 106.0, 105.3, 104.6, 102.0, 105.7 and 103.9 to be seventh with a totalof 627.5 among the eight finalists.
In fact, Bindra led the strong field after six shots in the final, ahead of the former Olympic champion Zhu Qinan of China, but shots of 9.2 and 9.3 thereafter, pulled him down. Bindra managed to shoot the low 10s on his last four shots to pip the two others in the race for the Olympic quota place.
After having finished 15th with a total of 624.8 in the World Championship in Granada, Spain, last year, when six Olympic quota places were taken, Bindra had shot 619.8 and 624.6 in the last two World Cups in Changwon and Fort Benning respectively. He had missed it by one point in the US, and it was clear already that Bindra would clinch the Olympic quota place in his favourite shooting range in the world, in Germany.
Gagan Narang, who has won the quota place in rifle prone event placed 57th with a total of 620.4 while another Olympian Sanjeev Rajput was91st with 614.8.
The results: Men: 10m air rifle: 1. Zhu Qinan (Chn) 206.0 (627.9), 2. Vladimir Maslenikov (Rus) 205.7 (628.7), 3. Oleh Tsarikov (Ukr) 184.2 (630.8); 6. Abhinav Bindra 122.4 (627.5); 57. Gagan Narang 620.4; 91. Sanjeev Kumar 614.8. MQS: Satyendra Singh 619.4; Ravi Kumar 617.2.