Tokyo Olympics: Heena Sidhu defends Manu Bhaker, says ‘malfunction in Gun costed her final sport’: A “circuit malfunction” in her pistol cost Indian shooting ace Manu Bhaker dearly as she narrowly missed out on qualifying for the finals of the women’s 10m air pistol event at the Tokyo Olympics here on Sunday. Owing to the technical snag during the second series, Manu lost more than five minutes, enough to disturb one’s rhythm in the precision sport, after making an impressive start in her maiden Olympic appearance. Her father Ramkishan Bhaker, as well as a National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) official, said that the electronic trigger of Manu’s pistol had “suffered a circuit malfunction” in the middle of the second series of the qualification.
Manu returned to the firing point after getting the issue fixed but, by then, it has disturbed her momentum as she went up again, against a world-class filed comprising Olympic and world champions.
The 19-year-old, ranked number two in the world, was pegged back by the technical glitch after a start that saw her take one of the places in the top eight. An opening of 98 was followed by 95, 94 and a 95 as the young shooter dropped out of the top-10.
With a 98, the Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympics gold medallist tried to stage a comeback in the fifth series, but one 8 and three 9s in the sixth and final series left Frenchwoman Celine Goberville to bag the eighth and last qualifying spot. Manu recovered well to shoot 98 in the 5th series but looked to be under a bit of time pressure.
Pistol shooter Heena Sidhu, who has represented India in two Olympics besides being a former world champion and world record holder, explained in detail the problems faced by her compatriot while slamming those who held the view that she buckled under pressure.
“For all d people who are quick to judge that Manu succumbed to pressure. I just got to know what happened to her equipment in detail n how much time she lost. She didn’t succumb to pressure she rose to it. “Giving a score of 575 in less than 34 mins is n achievement of her nerves,” Heena tweeted.
Manu finished 12th in the event with a total score of 575 while Yashaswini Singh Deswal managed to be placed 13th with 574. The cut-off was 577. Both the Indians were appearing in their maiden Olympics. In another tweet, Heena wrote, “She was so close that if that last shot was an inner 10 she wud have been in the finals even after going through a complete weapon breakdown in between the match.
“Stop judging athletes on numbers coz maybe that’s the only thing u can understand. Start understanding Performance!! Lauding the two India shooters for their effort, Heena said, “Manu and Deswal rank 12, 13 with 575 and 574. I think they put up a brave brave fight especially Manu, after having some problem with her equipment. “I think this experience will make them stronger for the mixed team event which I’m really looking forward to now.”