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Tokyo Olympics: 11 shooters, 7 days, 0 medals – India's misery in shooting continues

Former Olympian Joydeep Karmakar, in an interview with The Bridge, throws light on what has gone wrong for the Indians so far.

Indian Shooting Team

Indian shooters have failed to impress at the Tokyo Olympics.


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 30 July 2021 12:37 PM GMT

India had won medals in shooting at three consecutive editions of the Olympics. If Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore started the trend with his double trap silver in 2004 at Athens, Abhinav Bindra took it up a notch higher with a gold in 2008 at Beijing.

The legacy was then carried forward by Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar in 2012 London, and there was a sense that shooting is the next big thing for India. It was identified as a sport that India could dominate at the world stage.

But things have gone downhill since then. Though India possesses some of the best shooters in the world, the country has failed to win a single Olympic medal in the sport since the London Olympics.

While the Indian shooting campaign in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games was termed as a disaster, their stint in Tokyo five years later seem something more than that.

Entering the Tokyo Olympics as some of the top-ranked shooters in the world, the Indians have failed spectacularly during their time at the Asaka Shooting Range.

So far, in 7 days, a total of 11 Indian shooters have ended their campaign in Tokyo but have failed to earn a single podium finish for India. This is combining all the eight different events the Indian shooters have competed in over the past week.

In fact, only one (read Saurabh Chaudhary) of these 11 shooters have managed to reach the final medal match.

This is certainly not what had been expected of the Indian shooting contingent. They were instead expected to dominate and bring medal after medal. But, alas!

Talking to The Bridge in an exclusive interview, former Olympian Joydeep Karmakar threw light on what has gone wrong for the Indians so far.

"The Indian shooters are on a defensive mode, while they needed to be offensive. They needed to attack the pressure of the Olympics, which eventually got better for them. The killer instinct was missing," Karmakar said.

The 41-year-old stated that he felt the Indian shooters were prepared technically but failed to prepare themselves mentally, which eventually led to their downfall.

"The preparation could have been better, especially the mental sides of the things. I could see they were prepared technically and wanted to be clinical, and when it did not work, they did not have the psyche to fight and win medals at the Olympics," he explained.

Joydeep hinted that this should probably be it for the Indian shooters at the Olympics this time, as the 50m Rifle 3 Positions has never really been a strong suit for India.

"Historically, nothing much is expected from the Indians in the 50m range. In fact, not many Indians ever made the final at the Olympics in this event and looking at how India has played in other events; it is tough to have hopes. But that said, they are all capable of shooting well, and if somebody can come up as a hero and produce a miracle, would be good," Joydeep Karmakar explained.

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