Swirling wind conditions on an overcast day upset India's hopes for a medal in the men's 50m rifle prone event in the Asian Games as the country's shooting trio, including Gagan Narang, failed to advance to the finals at the Aoti shooting range in Guangzhou on Sunday.
Narang, who secured two silver medals in the 10m air rifle event on the opening day including the team honours, was second-best among Indians by finishing a lowly 24th with 587 points.
But this is not the 27-year-old Commonwealth Games hero's main event at the distance and he would have a shot at the 50m three position competition to be held on November 18.
Hariom Singh, who has already secured an Olympic berth in the same event at the Munich World Championship in August, was 13th from 54 shooters in the qualification stage by shooting 590 marks but this was way behind the 598 he fired at Munich and well behind the 594-595 he has been doing in the practice rounds.
The third Indian entrant Surinder Singh Rathod was 27th with a tally of 586.
India's foreign coach Stanislaus Lapidus said while the performance was not up to the mark, the weather conditions too affected the Indians.
"In one word I would describe the performance as bad. But the Indian shooters are not used to these kind of winds which changed direction every 2-3 seconds. In India, at Pune or Delhi when they train the wind comes from only one direction, from the left or from the right, consistently," said Lapidus.
Lapidus also emphasised again that after the high experience in the Commonwealth Games last month, the performance was bound to dip as none can sustain the high levels for long.
He also pointed out that Narang was using a new rifle and had not practiced much since the CWG.
"Gagan Narang is using a new rifle here. He is shooting with it only here. He has had no practice after the Commonwealth Games. The Indians are not experienced to these wind conditions. I am worried about the women (who were to take part in the 50m prone later in the day)," he said.
He pointed out that the conditions did not matter much in the 10m events, though at the range here the back-lighting was creating some problems, but in 50m events it was imperative to give the shooters experience of the range conditions in future.
"To prepare well for competitions in future the shooters either need to train at the same range where they will be held or in similar range conditions," he said about the lessons to be learned from today's display.
Mhow-based army Havaldar Hariom Singh was disappointed with his show as well as his team-mates and said though the wind did affect the shooting that was not the only reason for his below-par show.
"The wind did affect the shooting, a bit. But there was pressure of doing well too because of which I was delaying my firing. But I hope to do well in future competitions, in the coming World Cups," said the Agra-born shooter.
Singh also said that he needs to be tough mentally to handle the pressure.
"Someone like B P Bam would have helped me in mental training to handle the pressure of doing well in this competition. That's what I feel," he said.
Hariom's firing sequence was 99 97 97 99 99 99 for a final tally of 590, Narang shot 97 99 95 100 98 98 for 587 while Rathod's was 97 99 97 98 97 98 for 986.
India won 3 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze at the Doha Asian Games four years ago. Here the country has won 3 silver medals (Narang, men's 10m air rifle team, women's 10m air rifle team) and one bronze (Vijay Kumar, men's 10m air pistol).