India secured their 11th Olympic quota from shooting today when Ayonika Paul bagged the silver in women’s 10m air rifle but compatriot Pooja Ghatkar narrowly missed out on a berth at the quadrennial extravaganza in a high-scoring final at the Asia Olympic Qualifying Competition.The 23-year-old Commonwealth Games silver medallist finished on the podium after she shot 205.9 in the eight-woman final, same as gold medallist Najmeh Khedmati of Iran, but lost out on the top prize as she managed 9.9 to the Iranian’s 10.1 in the shoot-off here.Pooja recorded 184.5 after leading the field till the 17th shot. An 8.8 in the 18th attempt proved to be her undoing on day three of competition in the continent’s last quota event for Rio Games at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range.Ayonika began the final on a poor note, managing 9.6, a stark contrast to the cracking start made by Pooja, who shot a high 10.7.The competition inside the 10m air rifle range was intense as the participants produced some excellent shooting, with scores rarely going below 10.In the men’s 50m pistol, Omkar Singh could not make the podium as he finished fifth after shooting 147.0 in the final.Thanks to Ayonika’s effort, India have equalled the number of quotas it secured ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.In the women’s 10m air rifle event there were two quota places available. However, India were eligible for only one (each country can win a maximum of two quotas per event) as Apurvi Chandela had already secured one quota in the event in earlier competitions.advertisementAfter the 40 shot qualifying round, Ayonika shot 416.6 to be placed third and Pooja shot 415.6 to finish sixth. Both entered the eight-woman final round, which comprised of 20 shots and shooters start getting eliminated after the 8th shot onwards.Pooja and Ayonika were in gold and silver positions till the 18th shot when the former shot 8.8 to be relegated to bronze medal position.Khedmati, who is a world number 10 and already had a quota secured in the event, was steadily catching up with the Indians and finally caught up with Ayonika in the 20th shot and both tied at 205.9 to go into a shoot-off for gold and silver. The quota secured, Ayonika shot a disappointing 9.9 in the shoot-off to Khidmati’s 10.1.The other quota in the event went to Korea’s Eunseo Lee, who finished fourth in the finals.
Protests for holding of jallikattu and banning animal rights group People for PETA refused to ebb in Tamil Nadu with Chennai’s Marina Beach witnessing a massive gathering of thousands of youths. The continuing presence of the demonstrators on the beach has necessitated police to be deployed. The uprising, which on Wednesday entered its second day, threatened to spill over to Thursday with demonstrators rejecting Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s appeal to end the protest. 31 colleges that took part in Wednesday’s protests will remain shut on Thursday.Through the day on Wednesday, the protesters at Marina Beach saw support coming in from several quarters. Students of Chennai’s SRM University announced a protestoutside their institution, employees of IT companies streamed out oftheir offices in solidarity, and lawyers in Namakkal district announced a boycott of courts. Popular actor Vijay came out in support via a video message in which he said, “Jallikattu is every Tamilian’s identity. Those who areprotesting against the ban on Jallikattu are united by the feeling thatthey are Tamilians but not out of compulsion or political pressure.”Actor Suriya, in between his promotional tour for upcoming Tamil action ‘C3’, lashed out at animal rights advocacy group PETA. Actor GV Prakash andsinger-lyricist Arunraja Kamaraj, on the other hand, joined the silentprotest at Chennai’s Marina Beach while filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj leddemonstrators in Madurai.Also read: Jallikattu: Tamil Nadu CM to meet PM Narendra Modi tomorrow to ask for ordinance, wants protest withdrawn The demonstrations intensified on Tuesday after reports emerged that jallikattu protesters in the Alanganallur town of Madurai district had been arrested. The Marina Beach turned into a sea of people, with several thousands of young men and women demanding an end to the ban on jallikattu while insisting that PETA, which opposes the bull-taming sport, be banned.advertisementThe Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in May 2014.Also read: Jallikattu protest: Sasikala releases statement blaming DMK, PETA for ban on sport (With inputs from agencies)