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Bezzina finishes 26th in 10m Air Pistol

Abela eliminated in badminton men’s singles

Eleonor Bezzina was the first Maltese athlete in action at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when she took part in the qualifying phase of the 10m Air Pistol competition.

Bezzina, who was one of Malta’s flagbearers in Friday’s opening ceremony, produced a solid display to finish 26th overall with a total score of 570.

With only eight shooters from a starting list of 53 progressing into the final it was always going to be difficult for Malta’s leading target shooter to make it into the final but her final placing is still seen as encouraging particularly if one analyses the quality of the field she was competing against.

In fact, Bezzina managed to finish ahead of much-more quoted athletes from bigger nations such as Australia, Canada, United States and Russia, just to name a few.

Bezzina also finished well ahead of Jelena Pantovic, the Montenegrin shooter whom she beat for the gold medal in the 2019 GSSE, as the latter finished last in the standings on 534 points.

China’s Ranxin Jiang topped the qualifying competition with a world record score of 587, ahead of Anna Korakaki, of Greece, Vitalina Batsarashkina, of Russia.

Bezzina will now switch her focus on her next competition, the 25 metres women’s pistol competition that will be held on Thursday.

Matthew Abela hits a shot against China’s Shi Yuqi in their men’s singles badminton group stage match.

Elsewhere, Matthew Abela made his first appearance in an Olympic Games when he competed in the badminton men’s singles competition.

The young Maltese player was handed a tough draw when he was up against Chinese player Shi You Qi, who is seeded 11th in the competition.

Shi proved too strong for Matthew Abela to win the match in straight sets after compiling scores of 21-8 21-9 in 28 minutes.

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