In shooting at Tokyo Olympics, Manu Bhaker was all ready to make the finals of the women’s 10m air pistol on day. After a strong first two series however, something went wrong for Bhaker, as she shot 8s in the third series. Bhaker was looking hopeful after the 5th series, but narrowly missed out, finishing 12th with a score of 575. It was later revealed that there was a problem with her pistol, which was the reason she was not able to shoot smoothly, and did not make the finals. What exactly was wrong with Manu Bhaker’s pistol?
Bhaker is young, only 19 years old, and managed to make a strong comeback even after completely rejigging her pistol losing a whole 20 minutes in a 75 minute round. The world no. 2 had consistently good results, and was expected to atleast make the finals of the 10m air pistol. Although the malfunction of her pistol is not the only thing to blame for her loss, it did play a big role and put enormous pressure on the youngster. What exactly was wrong with Manu Bhaker’s pistol?
Shooting at Tokyo Olympics: The Malfunction that Cost Manu Bhaker a place in the finals
According to Ronal Pandit, her coach, the cocking lever of Bhaker’s gun broke and while replacing that, there was a circuit malfunction. The cocking lever is one that you pull in order to open the barrel and load the pistol. As that was broken, the circuit also malfunctioned, and Bhaker was in big trouble.
The Cocking lever is not something that breaks very often, it is a metal part and needs to be fixed then and there. While initially Bhaker was said to be on a break, it was later revealed that she was actually struggling to fix her pistol. While shooters do have a spare gun on hand for such emergencies, the Indian team made a practical call in the midst of the round, and decided to fix the broken gun instead.
The spare gun, although available, is not customised to the shooter’s liking, and trying to adjust the the main grip and do sighters again would have been the same or more than fixing the main gun. Changing guns could have also thrown off Bhaker’s rhythm. The malfunction unfortunately cost her a spot in the finals. She will get to redeem herself however, as she takes on the mixed team 10m air pistol with Saurabh Chaudhary later at the Olympics.