Shooter Samarakoon crashes out of 50 m event
Sri Lankan Rifle shooter Mangala Samarakoone, who finished with 585 points, ended up at the 47th place out of the 49 competitors and crashed out of the event. Samarakoon lamented about the absence of his coach after his dismal performances in the 50m Rifle Shooting, prone Men, first round here at the Royal Artillery Barracks range.
"If there was a coach he would have put me in the right path when I was wavering. At a previous international meet it happened. When I was losing my concentration he put me back in the right path and I did well" the hurt soldier told media after the event. "The most of the other competitors had their own coaches with them, but I missed mine very badly today." he added further. Samarakoone also explained that, at a competition of this nature the pressure is very intense and added "Prior to our departure I spoke to Mr. Maxwell de Silva of the NOC, but it yielded no result. Then even my Army commander intervened and tried to do something about it, but it was also in vain."
Out of the last ten places, Samarakoone was among the six competitors who got a perfect hundred. After getting a 96 and a 98 in the first two rounds, Mangala finished with a perfect 100 in the third round, but, slacked in the last three rounds having 97-a-piece. "The wind was an important factor too" "In the third round, the wind was down and I had a perfect round, but then again the wind picked up. If I had a coach we could have discussed the pros and cons and found ways of countering" Samarakoon explained.
Former National Rifle shooter Lucky Rajasinghe who participated in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was by the side of Mangala last morning. He had flown in from the United States where he lives to watch Mangala in action and will be flying back home tomorrow. "Though I was there watching him yesterday, I did not interfere. You cannot do anything in one day." Rajasinghe said. Without directly saying that Samarakoon was not mentally prepared for the event, Rajasinghe said "Mental preparation is very important especially in an event like Rifle Shooting. Having his own coach with him would have helped Mangala immensly". Brigadier Kenneth Edema is Mangala Samarakoone's personal Rifle Shooting coach.
- By S. R. Pathiravithana reporting from London