Heena fails to make final; Jitu Rai ends eighth

Medals continued to elude the cream of Indian shooters even though Jitu Rai, the man with the golden arm, did well to make the 10m air pistol final before finishing eighth at the Olympic Shooting Centre.

SPRINGING A SURPRISE: Vietnam's Xuan Vinh Hoang final shot of 10.7 enabled him clinch the 10m air pistol gold and also set a new Olympic record.

World record holder Heena Sidhu could not strike her best form in the women’s air pistol qualification, and a total of 380, nine points below her best, saw her finish 14th in a field of 44 shooters.

On Sunday, Heena had an average, but steadily improving, series of 94, 95, 96 and 95, but she missed the knockouts by four points.

Zhang Mengxue, with an assured display of precision shooting at the Deodoro range, comfortably held off Russian teenager Vitalina Batsarashkina. Greece’s Anna Korakaki took the bronze.

With Heena will have another chance in the 25-metre sports pistol, where she has been improving dramatically in recent months. Jitu Rai may be the World No. 3 in air pistol, but his real strength lies in the 50-metre free pistol in which he has won the World Championship silver apart from the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold.

On Saturday evening, Jitu Rai qualified with 580, as against 590 by the eventual bronze medallist Pang Wei of China. In the first eight shots of the final, Jitu grappled with five 9s and his 10s were not big and thus being ejected from the knockout phase.

Everyone enjoyed the brilliant climax when Xuan Vinh Hoang of Vietnam shot a final Olympic record of 202.5 to beat Felipe Almeida Wu of Brazil by 0.4 points, with a 10.7 last shot after the Brazilian had led by 0.2.

The results: Men: 10m air pistol: 1. Xuan Vinh Hoang (Vie) 202.5 (OR) (581); 2. Felipe Almeida Wu (Bra) 202.1 (580); 3. Pang Wei (Chn) 180.4 (590); 8. Jitu Rai 78.7 (580); 20. Gurpreet Singh 576.