Tuesday September 21, 2021

Mustafa fails to reach shooting finals at Olympics

August 03, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Three consecutive 8s during the last set barred shooter Ghulam Mustafa Bashir to reach the finals in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol competition of the Tokyo Olympics at Asaka Range Monday.

Ghulam Mustafa who was well placed at No 6 going into the second round held on to his lead and his No 6 status till the final two rounds where he started losing the grip, ultimately finishing 10th with a score of 579. A good last two rounds could have ensured him a place in the finals.

For Khalil Akhtar, who was flag-bearer of the Pakistan contingent during the opening ceremony, challenging the top ten was a tough task following the opening day’s low-key round where he was trailing at No 16. He could only improve one place to end up at No 15 in the 26-men competition.

Ghulam Mustafa rued the missed opportunity, saying that he was well placed to make it to the finals later in the day. “I hit three eights that made my job tougher. These eights came near the end of the event. I was not in a position to compensate for these misses. I was going well till the later stages of the second round as I was successfully holding on to my position. I was sure to make it to the finals when I started hitting 8s. From here on you actually start going better but to my bad luck I lost the way. Despite my all-out efforts and total concentration, I was unable to hit the right target,” Ghulam Mustafa said while talking to this correspondent on telephone from Tokyo.

Mustafa was regularly completing the round in 586 and over during training sessions and was hopeful of achieving the same here. “Following a good first day and up to the mark performance going into the second day, I played badly in the last two sets that resulted in relegation to 10th place. Despite lack of international exposure, I think we were capable of making it to the finals. I have no excuse but possibly a bit of pressure or you can say an element of excitement of playing the finals took over.”

For Khalil, who has qualified for the Olympics for the very first time, the event turned out to be one to gain experience. Though he has improved one place to his overnight position, he was unable to break the stranglehold of the high quality field.

“I tried my best but had a bad first round from which I could not recover,” Khalil said while talking to ‘The News’. Frenchman Jean Quiquampoix (34) took the gold with a new Olympic record with Cuba’s Leuris Pupo who was trailing behind after the first stage ending up with silver while Li Yuehong (China) won the bronze.

Arshad Nadeem (javelin) is the last Pakistan survivor in the Olympics that has seen some encouraging performance from weightlifter Talha Talib who finished fifth in 67kg category and Gulfam Joseph narrowly missing the cut of eight in 10m Air pistol, ultimately ending up ninth.