After rower Dattu Bhokanal got India to a rousing start at the Rio Olympics, women shooters Ayonika Paul and Apurvi Chandela had a forgetful debut at the Games following an early exit with a disappointing qualification round performance in the 10m air rifle event on 6 August.
Both the Olympic debutants failed to qualify for the final round of their respective discipline. The 23-year-old Chandela scored 411.6 points to finish on a lowly 34th position, while Paul could only manage to score 403.0 points to finish further down the rankings at a disappointing 47th spot in the qualification round.
China's Du Li finished at the top spot with a brilliant score of 420.7 points, followed by Germany's Barbara Engleder (420.3 pts) and Iran's Elaheh Ahmadi (417.8). With two of its women shooters - Sarah Scherer (416.8) and Virginia Thrasher (416.3) - qualifying for the final round, the USA will have a good chance of bagging a medal in the discipline.
Chandela was touted as one of the India's medal hopes in the shooting discipline due to her red-hot form. Earlier in 2016, the young shooter broke the world record score of 211.2 in women's 10m air rifle event, to surpass the feat of Chinese Olympic gold medallist Yi Siling (211).
She also won gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and 2012 National Championships in Delhi. In 2015, Chandela secured a bronze-medal finish at the ISSF World Cup in Changwon.
On the other hand, Paul was not really considered a medal hope for India, but her unpredictable nature surely made her a dark horse going into the Olympics. The 23-year-old had bagged a silver medal in women's 10m air rifle event at the Asia Olympic Qualifying Competition to secure her berth for Rio.
Earlier in the day, rower Dattu Bhokanal gave a promising start to India's campaign at the 2016 Olympic Games after qualifying for the quarterfinals of the men's single sculls event with a third-place finish in the heats.