Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary beat Yashaswini Deswal and Abhishek Verma to win gold in the mixed 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup stage in Rio.
Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary claimed the mixed 10m air pistol gold as India sealed their dominance by finishing atop the medals tally at the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol Stage in Rio, Brazil. Bhaker and Chaudhary pipped Yashaswini Deswal and Abhishek Verma on September 2.
India sealed an unprecedented top position across all four ISSF World Cup stages this year, including the Junior World Cup. In Rio, India ended with five gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The icing on the cake was the Olympic quota berth Sanjeev Rajput secured — India's eighth Olympic quota in shooting — with a silver in the men's 50m rifle 3 positions.
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India collected 22 medals in the four ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup stages this year, including 16 golds. India’s highest tally before this was eight last year. The magnitude of the dominating performance is evident in the huge jump in the medals tally compared to previous years. India had collected a total of 19 gold medals (11 in the rifle and pistol disciplines and eight from the shotgun discipline) prior to 2019. The performances augur well for Indian shooting’s big dreams at the Tokyo Olympics, which is less than a year away.
In the air pistol mixed team final on the final day of competitions in Rio, Bhaker and Chaudhary prevailed over Deswal and Verma 17-15 in a nerve-wracking affair. Bhaker and Chaudhary, both 17, have now all the four ISSF Mixed Team Air Pistol World Cup golds this year. They were, at various stages of the final, down 3-9, then 7-13 and then finally 9-15 before winning the next four duels to complete the comeback victory.
The duo had earlier shot 394 out of 400 in round two of qualification, including 100 each in the final 10-shot series, to top the eight team round. Deswal and Verma, both fresh from their individual gold medal winning performance earlier in the competition, qualified second with 386.
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On September 1, Apurvi Chandela, World No. 1 in the women's 10m air rifle, partnered Deepak Kumar to win India’s fourth gold in Rio. The pair won the top prize in the mixed air rifle event. Anjum Moudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar won bronze. Apurvi and Deepak blew away the Chinese pair of Yang Qian and Yu Haonan 16-6 in a one-sided final.
Another notable performance from Rio was that of Elavenil Valarivan, who became the third shooter after Chandela and Anjali Bhagwat to win a senior ISSF World Cup gold in the 10m air rifle last week. The 20-year-old shot gold with 251.7 points.
India have already secured the maximum of two Olympic quotas in the women's 10m air rifle category. So the Olympic quote in Rio went to Ying-Shin Lin from Chinese Taipei, who finished third.
(With inputs from PTI)
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