Olympics-Shooting-Belarusian Chaika dreams on despite half dozen setbacks

TOKYO (Reuters) - If perseverance were an Olympic sport, it would be difficult to deny Belarusian pistol shooter Viktoria Chaika a podium finish.

The 40-year-old had failed to medal in the previous five Olympics before landing in Japan, and Tokyo proved no different.

Here she could not make the final in either of her events, finishing 11th in 10-metre air pistol and 36th in 25-metre at the Asaka Shooting Range.

While many others in her place would probably retire out of frustration, Chaika plans to stick to her guns.

"I continue because I like my sport," said the shooter from Minsk.

"I try to do everything that I can at each competition and the dream of getting an Olympic medal remains, so I will continue this journey further."

Chaika said nothing worked for her in the 25m event, and she blamed it on the gap between her competitions.

"It was hard for me that the competition was spread out so much. If the break (between 10m and 25m events) was one or two days, that would be easier, because here you keep waiting and waiting."

Chaika made her Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games and came closest to a medal eight years later in Beijing where she finished fourth in the 10-metre event.

Fellow pistol shooter Nino Salukvadze, 52, has decided to quit after failing to win any medal in Tokyo where the Georgian became the first female athlete to compete in nine Olympics.

Among the veteran shooters in Tokyo, Kuwait's Abdullah Alrashidi, who turns 58 next month, gave himself an early birthday gift by winning the men's skeet bronze.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Toby Davis)

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