Javelin thrower Annu Rani was regarded as a dark horse in the build-up to Women's Javelin Throw at the Tokyo Olympics. Annu had a world ranking of 13 and her personal best and national record of 63.24 was not only higher than the direct qualification mark of 63 but was also the eighth-best among everyone in Group A of the Heats where she was competing.
The fact that her personal best arrived this season itself suggested that she had been in good form leading up to the Games.
However, she failed to materialize her best version during the Qualification round and failed to even get off the blocks. Her first attempt, a lowly 50.35, could've been down to caution.
Following on from yesterday, rain played spoilsport in the initial half of the morning as well and by the time the first round of throws, the track was still considerably damp. Understandably, Annu decided to take it easy and chose caution instead.
The lack of momentum and gusto, especially during her run-up, was evident in her second attempt as well – another meager 53.19. There's case to be made that her concentration and rhythm might've been affected as she was asked by the authorities to pause for a while since a track event was going to take place. As cameras panned to her face, she visibly looked nervous.
Needing to make it count on her final attempt, Annu Rani failed to make it count. 54.04 was all she could manage – the lowest among everyone with at least one legitimate throw.
It goes without saying that for someone, who consistently aims to throw over-60 and has broken the national record year after year by outdoing her own self, this is beyond disappointing.
Annu Rani has a lot to contemplate about. Her worst performance this year arrived at the Tokyo Olympics. She has managed above 60.58 at least on every other occasion. A 60.58 today would've seen her progress to the final.
We were witness to Kamalpreet Kaur announcing herself to the nation with a flamboyant throw of 64 that breached the qualification mark during her Heats. She would go on to finish sixth in the final of Discus Throw.
We've also seen how Avinash Sable outgunned his own personal best and created a national record. He was unfortunate to miss out on the final because of the format of the Heats.
These are the performances every athlete hopes to achieve on the biggest stage in sport, the Olympics. Annu will certainly be disappointed by what she showed today as she's capable of so much more than that.