Women archers, hockey squad show grit, but shooter Heena flops

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The Indian women’s archery team progressed to the quarter-finals and the hockey squad fought back to hold Japan to a draw, but experienced pistol shooter Heena Sidhu misfired on day two of the Rio Games here on Sunday.

The women’s archery team of Laishram Bombayla Devi, Laxmirani Majhi and Deepika Kumari made the quarters of the recurve event by edging out Colombia 5-3.

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File photo

This was the first time that the women archers had advanced to round two after their poor display in London four years ago when Denmark ousted them in round one. Bombayla and Deepika were part of that team.

The trio were to face Russian in the quarter-finals later Sunday.

The women’s hockey squad, which has qualified for the Olympics after 36 years, showed a lot of grit in the face of adversity and staged a grand rally in the second half to hold higher-ranked Japan to a 2-2 draw.

The Indians, ranked 13th in the world, were trailing by two goals at half time after World No. 10 Japan scored through Emi Nishikori (15th minute) and Mie Nakashima (28th).

But the Indians made a valiant fightback as Rani Rampal (31st) and Lilima Minz (40th) scored a goal each in the third and fourth quarters to secure a point for their side.

However, the Indian shooters’ unimpressive run continued unabated with Heena crashing out of the women’s 10m air pistol qualification round by finishing way behind the leaders in the 14th position out of 44 competitors.

The 26-year-old 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games silver medallist shot an overall 380, which included 13x.

Heena, who had finished 12th in her maiden Olympics in 2012 London Games, failed to recover from a poor start and became the fourth shooter to be eliminated in day two of the competition.

The cut for the eight finalists was applied at 384 with seven closest to the centre circle, which was shot by Sonia Franquet of Spain. Russia’s Vitalina Batsarashkina topped the qualification round with a score of 390, including 14x.

Heena will now try to make amends when she competes in the 25m pistol event, scheduled to be held on August 9.

On day one of competitions Saturday, the duo of Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul failed to qualify in the women’s 10m air rifle event.

Medal prospect Jitu Rai could make the final in the 10m air pistol but exited by finishing eighth in the summit round.

Gurpreet Singh, the other shooter in fray, ended a distant 20th in a field of 46.

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