Tuesday September 21, 2021

Shooter Mustafa stays in hunt for finals at Olympics

August 02, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top shooter Ghulam Mustafa Bashir Sunday stayed in the hunt for a place in the Tokyo Olympics’ 25m Rapid Fire pistol finals as he finished the opening day’s proceedings at No 6 after enjoying top five positions most of the time during the course of play at Asaka Range.

While Khalil Akhtar was left struggling at No 16 in the 26-member competition, experienced Ghulam Mustafa shot 9.767 for 30 hits with seven X (bullseye). However, he was seen putting in more consistent performance throughout, baring the last two shots when he conceded one place to end up the day at No 6.

Top six shooters will qualify for the finals to be held today (Monday). The first target for Ghulam Mustafa will be to retain or improve his performance going into the second round Monday morning. He got off to a blazing start on Sunday and even had occupied the top three positions at one stage.

Khalil Akhtar, who is figuring in his first Olympics, was seen conceding seven places to finish the opening day at No 16. He was well-placed at No 8 and No 9 half-way into the 30-hit opening day when he faltered at later stages to end up the day at No 16.

“You cannot say that Khalil Akhtar has lost his chances of making it to the finals. A good second round could end up Khalil amongst the top six. I have told him he can do it and as he has all the talent to make a comeback,” Javed Lodhi Executive Director National Rifle Association of Pakistan said.

He requested this correspondent not to question both shooters at this stage as they were going through a critical period and all they required is complete rest and good night sleep to get ready for the second round.

Javed Lodhi had all praise for Ghulam Mustafa for making his mark on the opening day.

“What he needs is a bit of luck going into the second day. He has been outstanding so far as in the company of the best from around the world he emerged as one of the leaders going into the second round. These shooters who are occupying the top five spots after the first round have participated in no less than eight international events during the last one year. Pakistan shooters on the other hand competed in just one,” Javed Lodhi said.

Khalil managed 9.533 for his 30 shots. “There is the thinnest of margins between the leading 20. One good fire or one bad makes a lot of difference.”

Two Frenchman Clement Bassaguet (9.90) and Jean Quiquampoix (also 9.90) are occupying the top spot at the moment.

The second round will get underway today’s morning followed by the finals to be contested among the top six later in the day.