India’s young contender Shiva Narwal squandered a golden opportunity to win a quota for the Paris 2024 Olympics at the World Championships on Saturday at the Egypt Olympic International Center. The 16-year-old junior world champion (team event) failed in his first appearance at the world championships in the men’s 10-meter air pistol final and was eliminated in eighth place.
Sneaking into the final with 7 consecutive shots from 10 in qualifying was commendable and the teenager, not quite 17, was the youngest of the 8 men. Unfortunately, this form fizzled out in the heavily occupied final.
In a final featuring three Chinese shooters in Liu Jinyoa, Zhang Yifan and Zhang Bowen and two Ukrainians in Pavlo Korostylov and Viktor Bankin, five countries were eligible for four odds. This meant that if Narwal could beat the Korean or Pakistani shooter early in the final, he would have taken the odds.
He started his first series with 10.2 and 10.4 – but then produced two horror shots with 9.2 and 9.4 points. He finished his first series with a 10.1 to finish with a 49.1 overall. Narwhal’s second series was marginally better with four shots over 10s (10.3, 10.4 and two 10.0s), but it was once again a 9.2 shot that derailed his second series. Luckily, Bowen was on a worse streak for Narwal at the time, shooting 47.3 to drop to eighth place.
At this point, Narwal still had a chance to win the quota spot. But his spotty shooting resurfaced in the third and final series. This time the irregular short chart showed 9.7, 8.9, 9.9, 10.2 and 9.9 again. In a streak that saw him consistently surpass 10.2 shots, the Indian shooter never managed to get his groupings on point and dropped out of the competition in last place.
Early in the qualifiers, Narwal had gotten off to a brilliant start, with his opening streak reaching 99. But in the second series, his 95 took him further down the pecking order. He followed those two series with a 97 and a 96.
The last two series were decisive, in which Narwal just managed to get his place in the finals. He finished both with 98 points, but it was a back-to-the-wall shoot in the final series that really got him across the finish line.
With the qualifying cutoff at 582, Narwal went on a run and shot 10 after 10. By the end of the series, the Haryana native had seven consecutive 10s to end his qualifying. One of those 10s is slightly off and Narwal could face the same fate as teammate Naveen, who missed the finals by an individual position after inside 10s ruined his chances.
The young shooter was unable to repeat his exploits from the last qualifying series in the eight shootout and missed the quota. India’s other shooters in the event – placed 9th (Naveen with a score of 582) and 19th (Vijayweer Sidhu with a score of 579).