Bashir sixth, Khalil 16th after first round of 25m rapid fire

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TOKYO: Pakistan shooter Ghulam Mustafa Bashir put himself in contention for the final of the men’s 25m rapid fire air pistol event at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. His compatriot Mohammad Khalil Akhtar has work to do.

Bashir finished with 293 points after the first qualifying stage at the Asaka Shooting Range, just inside the cut-off line at sixth. Just holding onto that position after Monday’s second stage will be enough for Bashir to make the final.

With the top six advancing to the final, Khalil will need to push himself on Monday when shooters will fire another 30 rounds after he ended in 16th with 286 points.

Bashir fired 99 and 98 in the first two segments before getting 96 in the third, when he had to fire two five-shot series, each within four seconds. Khalil had 98, 96 and 92 in each of the three segments.

German Christian Reitz made a steady start to his title defence as he finished third with the top seven also featuring Frenchman Jean Quiquampoix and China’s Li Yuehong — who won the silver and bronze, respectively in Rio five years ago — giving a sense of deja vu.

Frenchmen Clement Bessaguet and Quiquampoix were tied at the top with 297 points each but Bessaguet was ranked first for leading his compatriot by two hits in the X ring.

Reitz, who holds the qualification world record of 593, lurked one point behind them.

“I had a little problem with the stability in the arm and after the shot the gun moved a little bit more than normal,” the German, who also won a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games said. “It was more difficult to adjust it for the next target so 296 is a great result.”

China’s Li (292) was at seventh with his compatriot and world champion Lin Junmin fifth, sandwiched between fourth-placed South Korean Han Dae-yoon and Bashir.

London Games champion Leuris Pupo of Cuba is eighth (290) and will also need an improved second stage to stay on course for a second Olympic medal.

“It could have been a better result. I think I had more to give,” Pupo said. “There is a bit more pressure on me, being my sixth Olympics, and the responsibility I have before the people of Cuba.”

South Korean shooter Song Jong-Ho was disqualified for failing velocity testing at a post-competition check.

Song finished in 22nd, but was red flagged after a chronograph measurement determined the average velocity of his ammunition was under 250 metres per second.

Under International Shooting Sport Federation rules, testing officers fire three cartridges from each athletes gun and record

the muzzle velocity of each one. Testing below 250 metres per second six times leads to a disqualification.