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Tokyo Olympics: Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Deswal up against Europeans & history | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

July 24, 2021

The spotlight will be on shooter Manu Bhaker when she enters the arena in the 10m air pistol event on Sunday morning. However, mother Sumedha will not be watching.
The lady would be busy praying while Manu shoots, even as the father continues to keep an eye on the scores on his cellphone. “She is too nervous to watch Manu shoot,” Manu’s father Ram Kishan Bhaker told TOI. “Manu’s brother too won’t be watching.”
The tension is palpable and while the families are staying away from it, the shooters have been firing the last few practice rounds with a lot of confidence.
On Sunday, Manu, 19, along with Yashaswini Deswal, 24, will fight in a field of former Olympic medallists — including Rio — and World Champions at 5 am Indian time.
Historically, barring China’s 4 gold (2000, 2008, 2012, 2016), all medals since 1988 — from the time women’s 10m air pistol made entry in Olympics — have been won by European shooters. No Asian country other than China, has been able to win a medal in this event.
A stiff challenge from European shooters awaits the Indians. Rio silver medallist, Russian Vitalina Batsarashkina, looks comfortable with her form. Greece’s Anna Korakaki, who had won bronze in this event and gold in the 25m sports pistol at Rio, may not have won medals in the build-up to Tokyo, but her performance at big-ticket events is always top-notch.
Veteran Athens champion Olena Kostevych of Ukraine is back in the Olympics after becoming a mother and has thrown her hat in the ring at Tokyo. Hungary’s Veroika Major, Bulgaria’s Viktoria Chaika and recently-crowned European champion Carina Wimmer of Germany, will be among the challengers.
The Indians in the 10m air rifle men event — Divyansh Singh Panwar, 19, and Deepak Kumar, 33 — too will be up against marksmen from Europe and will have to do better than the Rio silver medallist Serhiy Kulish. Rio bronze medallist Vladimir Maslennikov of Russia, along with Russian Sergey Kamenskiy, Hungary’s Istvan Peni and Croatia’s Peter Gorsa have been in great form off late. The Asian challenge for the Indians will come from China’s Haoran Yang.

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