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Pakistan athletes Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Muhammad Khalil Akhtar will fight for a medal in Olympics 25m rapid fire pistol event as they ended qualification stage 1 in sixth and 16th place respectively in  on Sunday morning.

The event is taking place at Asaka Shooting Range with 27 athletes who began their first stage of the qualification. Bashir, who is appearing at the Olympics for the second time, stayed on the fifth place in the competition for a good amount of time before China’s Junmin Li pipped him by a point. Bashir finished day one on the sixth place with 293 points.

Akhtar began strongly for as he scored 286 points before giving the lead to others. He was on the second place at the start of the event but later fell behind.

The stage two will see tighter performances as only top six shooters with most points will qualify for the final that will also take place tomorrow.

So far the event is dominated by French shooters, with Clément Bessaguet and Jean Quiquampoix both securing 297 points on top two places respectively. Germany's Christian Reitz is on the third place.

Bashir is ranked 25th in the world while Akhtar is in 24th place on the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) list.

Akhtar became the first athlete from Pakistan to book a place in the Tokyo Olympics with his stellar performance in the Rio ISSF World Cup where he had finished sixth in 2019.

Pakistan fielded three shooters as it is the first time in the history of the country that three athletes directly qualified for the Games.

Earlier in Tokyo, 21-year-old  made his Olympics debut in 10m air pistol event. He had also qualified through Asian Championship in 2019, like Bashir.

Joseph was impressive because no shooter from Pakistan had qualified for the Olympics on their international debut. He finished ninth in his event in the qualification stage, missing out by just a spot in the final among top eight in 10m air pistol event.

The entire 2020 was wrapped under the shadow of the global Covid-19 pandemic that didn’t just push the Olympics by a year, but also left the athletes without events to keep their skills in tune with the previous year.

Explainer for 25m rapid fire pistol event

Qualification round: During the qualification round every athlete has to fire 60 shots, divided into two identical stages of 30 shots each. The two series are divided into six five-shot series: the first and the second have to be fired within 8 seconds, the third and the fourth within 6 seconds, and the fifth and the sixth within 4 seconds.

Final round: The top six athletes from the qualification phase advance to the final match, where they can shoot up to 8 five-shot series.

The finalists start the match with zero points: no qualification score is carried into the final, according to the ISSF rules.

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