Apurvi Chandela, Rahi Sarnobat, Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker made the whole of India proud by winning gold medals and secured six Olympic places.
Apurvi Chandela won the gold in women’s 10m air rifle at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Munich, on Sunday. The 26-year-old shot 251 points in the final to pip China’s Luyao Wang’s score of 250.8. This was Apurvi’s second gold medal of the year. She has also won the gold medal at the Delhi World Cup in February.
Saurabh Chaudhary, the 17-year-old sensation, made the country proud once again as he bagged a gold medal in the 10 metre Air Pistol category. The teenage broke his own world record of 245 by shooting 246.3 points in the final to take the summit standings. It was the second gold medal at the ISSF World Cup 2019 for India after Apurvi Chandela. Chaudhary had proved his mettle at World stage earlier when he bagged a gold at the World Cup in New Delhi, earlier this year. His impressive run also includes a gold medal in Youth Olympic Games (2018) and a gold in 2018 Asian Games. He also holds the World record in 10m Air Pistol category for both senior and junior level.
Saurabh Chaudhary has also impressed in the mixed team event for India as he along with Manu Bhaker had earlier won a gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed team event at the ISSF Shooting World Cup 2019 in Beijing. The Indian pair defeated Jiang Ranxin and Pang Wei of China by a comprehensive margin of 16-6 in the gold medal battle. It was the second consecutive gold for Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary at the ISSF World Cup as they had clinched a gold in the same category in the New Delhi edition of the shooting World Cup in February this year.
Rahi Sarnobat also won a gold medal in the women’s 25m pistol at the season’s third ISSF World Cup in Munich on Monday. She sealed an Olympic quota place for India in style as she cruised to victory. She won the gold with a score of 37 (out of 50 shots) in the final. This is India’s first Olympic quota spot in this event. Sarnobat, the Asian Games champion, was second in the final behind compatriot Manu Bhaker. However, once she got the lead, she maintained it till the gold medal shot. Olena Kostevych of Ukraine won silver with 36 hits while Bulgaria’s Antoaneta Boneva won bronze with 26. Earlier in the qualification, Sarnobat finished fourth with a score of 586-25x (25 inner 10s) while teenager Manu Bhaker shot 585-17x to finish fifth.
This will be a significant medal for Sarnobat, who was the first Indian woman to seal an Olympic quota in sport pistol for London 2012. However, she missed the next edition in 2016 after a career-threatening injury. She will now try to ensure she makes it to Tokyo after winning another quota for India in the event.
Manu Bhaker, the other Indian in the fray, was unlucky to miss out on the podium after a weapon malfunction saw her slip to fifth spot after leading the field. She fired a blank round to be eliminated, finishing fifth. The teenager was noticeably emotional as she fell early in the final. Bhaker will get another shot in the women’s 10m air pistol on after her unfortunate incident in sport pistol.
Indian shooters are competing for 12 of the 17 Tokyo Olympic quotas available in Munich, having already secured six quota places in rifle and pistol competitions. Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Mudgil were the first to secure their places. Saurabh Chaudhary then sealed the third quota place with a world record score at the Delhi World Cup in February. The fourth and fifth spots were taken by Divyansh Singh Panwar and Abhishek Verma, respectively, at the Beijing World Cup. Rahi Sarnobat has now sealed the sixth spot after winning the gold medal in the ISSF World Cup. India now has six quota places in rifle and pistol competitions for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
As of now, India is leading the tournament with three gold medals, overtaking China which has one gold medal, one silver medal, and three bronze medals right now. Two of those gold medals came home thanks to the women, and one of them has given us reason to hope for an Olympic win for India.
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