Indian shooters were off to a rough start at the Tokyo Olympics as world No 1 Elavanil Valarivan and world record holder Apurvi Chandela couldn’t qualify for the finals of the women’s 10m air rifle on Saturday.

Making her Olympic debut, Elavanil finished 16th after scoring 626.5 points over six series of 10 shots each, while the more experienced Chandela finished 36th after aggregating 621.9 at the Asaka Range.

Later, the final was won by China’s 21-year-old Yang Qian, Russian Olympic Committee’s Anastasiia Galashina won silver and Switzerland’s Nina Christen won bronze.

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In the qualification, Indians were off to a decent start and even as Chandela slipped after that, the 21-year-old Elavenil tried to remain in the contest with a fine performance in the third series, including shooting a perfect 10.9.

However, Elavenil could not maintain the same form and a couple of 9s in the fifth and sixth series pushed her further down. Chandela had finished 34th at the 2016 Rio Games.

In a very competitive field consistently producing high scores, Elavenil fell two points short of the total shot by Galashina, who grabbed the eighth and last spot in the final by setting the cut-off at 628.6.

Norway’s Jeanette Hegg Duestad topped the qualification with an Olympic qualification record score of 632.9, while South Korea’’s Heemoon Park was second with 631.7. American challenger Mary Carolyn Tucker finished third with 631.4. Several big names such as Eszter Mezaros, Ziva Dvorsak, Laura-Georgeta Ilie, Sofia Ceccarello and Yulia Karimova also missed out on the final.

Incidentally, the women’s 10m air rifle was the first event in which India clinched quotas for the Tokyo Games with Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil claiming them at the 2018 World Championship in Changwon, Korea.

Moudgil’s quota was given to Elavenil on the basis of the latter’s excellent run of form through the Olympic selection cycle.

The women’s 10m air rifle event saw one of the largest fields in Tokyo, with a total of 50 shooters in the fray.

With PTI Inputs