However, an individual medal eluded her at both, the Olympics as well as the Asian Games
India’s Manu Bhaker after the women’s 25m pistol rapid individual event finals in Hangzhou yesterday. Pic/PTI
Pistol ace Manu Bhaker, 21, has been the postergirl of Indian shooting for some time now, given she has won medals galore at junior and senior levels.
However, an individual medal eluded her at both, the Olympics as well as the Asian Games.
On Wednesday, moments after she won the 25m team pistol gold with Rhythm Sangwan and Esha Singh, she finished a poor fifth in the individual final of the same event.
Bhaker was visibly disappointed and even briefly broke down after finishing outside the individual medals. “After today’s performance, I got emotional because I have put in a lot of hard work, far more than any of you can imagine,” she said after the individual final.
Bhaker qualified for the final with an impressive 590, a score similar to what she had achieved at the last Asiad in Jakarta, and she immediately realised it. “At the last Asian Games, I shot a 593 in qualification and finished sixth in the finals. At least this time, it’s a step ahead [fifth], so, yeah, baby steps,” she said with a hint of sarcasm.
Coming back to the individual final, Bhaker said: “The day began well. I started with a great qualification score and was hoping for a podium finish, but unfortunately it didn’t happen, and I only have a team gold. But hopefully, this [team gold] will turn into an individual gold too someday and I hope that someday is soon.”
Four-time Asian Games gold medal-winnner Jaspal Rana is Bhaker’s coach and she suggested that his absence here may have cost her dearly. “I hope my coach [Rana] accompanies me for international tournaments because there are many important competitions coming up, including Olympic qualification events. For this Asian Games, I requested for him to join me, but I don’t know what’s going on,” she signed off.