World number two and Youth Olympics and Asian Games champion Saurabh Chaudhary, gave India her first medal of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage which got underway in Osijek, Croatia, on Thursday, by winning bronze in the Men’s 10M Air Pistol event.
In sweltering conditions in Osijek, where temperatures at the Pampas Shooting range reached 39 degrees at times given the range was more of an indoor tent setup, Saurabh shot 220.0 in the eight-man 24-shot final, bowing out after the 22ndshot. Iran’s Javad Foroughi claimed gold, his second in successive ISSF World Cups, while the seasoned three-time Olympian Damir Mikec of Serbia won silver, finishing with scores of 243.0 and 241.7 respectively.
Earlier, both Saurabh and world number one Abhishek Verma, the two Indians in the 71-strong field, had made it to the finals shooting identical scores of 581 in qualifying. They claimed the sixth and seventh qualifying spots. Abhishek eventually finished fifth in the finals.
Saurabh in particular had begun the final in explosive fashion, leading the field till the 10thshot, before shooting an 8.7 on his 11th, after which he was left playing catch up. This was Saurabh’s ninth ISSF World Cup medal overall in a relatively short international career.
A total of five Indians made finals on the day, but Saurabh’s was the only medal.Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, who won his first ISSF World Cup gold in New Delhi in March this year, surprised many by reaching the finals of the Men’s 10M Air Rifle competition. He finished seventh in the end with a score of 143.9 in the finals.
The youngster from Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, who is slated to shoot the 50M Rifle 3 Positions event at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in less than a month, was entered as India’s third entry in the 10M Air at Osijek, but outdid his two other teammates by shooting a score of 628.0 in the 60-shot qualification round. That effort made him the seventh claimant to the eight-field finals fray.
The two Indians who would feature in the event at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games, Deepak Kumar and Divyansh Singh Panwar, however fell short of making the finals cut. Deepak shot 626 to finish 14thon the day, while Divyansh was further back in 25thwith a score of 624.7.World number one Istvan Peni, London Olympics Champion George Moldoveanu, were among those who could not make the cut.It was then the turn of Yashaswini Deswal and Manu Bhaker in the Women’s 10M Air Pistol, to make the final eight, after they shot qualifying round scores of 578 and 577 respectively to make it in fifth and sixth places.
Both shot higher scores than the New Delhi World Cup and in the recently concluded European Championships, but had a forgettable final. Manu finished seventh while Yashaswini eighth. Rahi Sarnobat, who also entered the 10M Air shot 572 for a 13thplace finish. The trio will take it from here in the Women’s Team competition on Friday.Here too among those who could not make the finals were the likes of reigning Olympic and World Champion Anna Korakakki of Greece and London Olympics silver medallist Celine Goberville of France among others.
All three Indians in the Women’s 10M Air Rifle competition missed making the finals cut and had a relatively off day. What made it even worse in the searing heat was when world number one Elavenil Valarivan had two points docked from her eventual score after a protest that was officially lodged by her did not stand, resulting in her final series reading less than a 100.Apurvi Chandela was the best placed Indian in the event with a score of 624.2 giving her 24thspot. Anjum Moudgil’s 622.3 was good enough for only 42ndand Elavenil with 621.2 in the final count finished 55th.In Men’s Skeet, Gujoat Khangura of India shot 70 after the first three qualifying rounds to be placed 52ndon count back.