India’s Manu Bhaker is now a junior world champion. The Olympian bounced back in style from the disappointments of Tokyo 2020 and won gold medal in the women’s 10m air pistol final at the International Shooting Sport Federation Junior World Championship in Lima, Peru, on Thursday.
Esha Singh grabbed the silver medal in a one-two finish for India while Rhythm Sangwan ended in fourth place in the finals after missing out on a podium by just .2 points.
The other medals for India came from Rudrankksh Patil and Ramita in the men’s and women’s 10m air rifle events (silver and bronze) while Ganemat Sekhon won a superb women’s junior skeet silver later on in the day.
While Bhaker ended up at the top of the podium in women’s 10m air pistol dominating pretty much from start to finish, her compatriots Esha Singh and Rhythm Sangwan kept the possibility of the clean sweep open. Singh, who is 16 years old, was trailing Turkey’s Yasemin Beyza Yilmaz for the most part but upped her game in the final rounds and clinched silver.
Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil, meanwhile, won silver in the men’s 10m air rifle while Ramita won bronze in the corresponding women’s event to open India’s tally at the ISSF Junior World Championships on day two where the finals began.
Patil fought gamely but eventually went down to the reigning Olympic champion William Shaner of the United States. In the women’s event, Ramita too was in for a shout for gold till the 22nd shot of the 24-shot final, but won bronze at the end.
India had three finalists each in both the air rifle events. Srikanth Dhanush and Paarth Makhija and Srikanth Dhanush finished seventh and eighth in the men’s final with scores of 141.4 and 121.0 respectively.
Patil on the other hand went into the final two shots with a 0.4 deficit from the Olympic Champion but a 9.7 for his 23rd shot saw Shaner through in the end. The Indian finished with 250.0 to Shaner’s 250.7.
In the women’s final, it was a similar story for India with Nisha Kanwar the first to be eliminated in eighth place with 122.5 while Mehuli Ghosh went out in fifth with 186.8.
Ramita, a 17-year old debutant, was trailing Mehuli through the final but picked up brilliantly towards the middle, including a 10.9 for her 18th shot to be in gold medal contention with three shots to go. However, her 22nd shot was also a 9.7 allowing American Mary Carolynn Tucker to go past her.
Oceanne Mueller of France won gold off a shoot-off in the end after leading the length of the final. Both Oceanne and Mary had finished with 250.6 after the allotted 24 shots.
In the men’s 10m air pistol later, despite having three finalists again, India finished without a medal. Naveen, Sarajbot Singh and Vijayveer Sidhu finished 4th, 6th and 8th respectively.
In the final event of the day featuring India in medal contention, Ganemat Sekhon pulled off a superb performance to clinch silver after needing a shootoff to decide the winner with the scores level on 46 out of 60 with USA’s Alishia Layne. The American hit both targets in the shootoff while the Indian missed. Raiza Dhillon had also qualified for the final and she finished fourth.
No Indian qualified for the final in the men’s skeet event.
This is the first multi-discipline event since the Tokyo Olympics, which sees participation from as many as 32 nations (led by USA, Germany and India with China absent) and nearly 370 athletes.