Mangal Champia loses a nail bitter

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Beijing, Aug 13: Luck deserted Mangal Singh Champia when he needed it most as the Indian lost to Bair Badenov of Russia 108-109 to crash out of the Olympic Archery competition here today.

With this, Indian Archery participation in the Olympics came to end. Prior to this competition also Mangal Singh Champia had been in tremendous form in the three World Cup meets he took part this year. He matched the best in terms of points in the qualification rounds, even once missing the world record in the third leg at Antalya.

Yet, his form and perseverance failed to win him a medal in any of the three individual knockout events.

And this morning again it turned out to be a cruel joke for this modest Railway man, who did every thing except beating the luck and his rival.

The 25-year-old Jamshedpur based Champia started his campaign on a bright note as he overpowered Vaezi Hojjatolah of Iran 112-98.

The Champion archer from India took a two point lead over his Iranian rival in the first round 27 (9, 9, 9), while Veezi shot 25 (8, 9, 8). He had second successive round of 27 (8, 9, 10), whereas Vaezi shot 24 (8, 8, 8).

In the third round, Champa shot 28 (10, 9, 9) and his last round score was a perfect 30 (10, 10, 10).

Vaezi on the other hand, came up with 26 (9, 9, 8) and 23 (6, 8, 9) in those rounds respectively.

The way Champia shot, it looked that he will have it easy in the pre-quarterfinals where he met Bair Badenov in his second match.

Bair took a one point lead after the first round as the Russian scored 27 (9, 8, 10) as against Indian's score of 26 (7, 9, 10).

The Russian increased his lead by three points when he returned a score of 28 in the second round as Champia again shot 26 (7, 9, 10).

The Russian shot a steady 27 in the third round (9, 10, 8) but the Indian came back strongly with a third round score of 28 (9, 10, 9).

And it became a nail bitting fourth round as only three points separated Champia from making it to the quarter finals.

Every Indian supporter was praying for Champia to do the encore of his third round against Vaezi when he had a perfect score of 10.

Bair shot 27 in his last round (9, 8, 10) but the very first arrow of Champia's last round proved his undoing. He hit the eight pointer and though he shot two ten pointers to end the round with a score of 28 but he failed to make it to the next round.

''All I can say is that Champia deserved a better luck,'' manager KS Kang said after the match.

''I tried my best but I can't fight with the luck,'' Champia later said adding, ''Only if my first arrow of the last round had hit the gold.'' ''I have no excuses to offer, but I think I should have won,'' he sighed.

UNI

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