Mehuli Ghosh and Shahu Tushar Mane won India’s second gold medal of the on-going ISSF World Cup in Changwon, South Korea, beating Hungary’s Eszter Meszaros and Istvan Peni 17-13 in a hard-fought 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team gold medal encounter.
It was a profitable Day 5 for India at the Changwon International Shooting range, as the Men’s Trap team also won a silver, while Shiva Narwal and Palak blitzed Kazakhstan 16-0 to claim bronze in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event.
India thus cemented joint second place on leaderboard with a total haul of two gold, one silver and one bronze medal. Arjun Babuta had won India’s first gold on Day 3 in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event.
Serbia leads the tally with three golds while China shares second place with India with the exact same medal haul. Both India’s golds have come in Olympic events.
Shooting on early Wednesday morning, Mehuli and Shahu had to ward off a late surge by the Hungarians to finally go across the line.
The pair began the final, carrying on from where they had left off on Tuesday, shooting consistently high scores to open up a 11-7 lead over the strong Hungarian pair. However, Eszter and Istvan fought back admirably to tie the match at 13-13 before Mehuli and Shahu dug deep to take the next two single-shot series and strike gold.
Incidentally, both Mehuli and Shahu had won individual silver medals in Air Rifle at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games. Since then, while Mehuli has had some success at this level, it was Shahu’s senior team debut and as such his first senior ISSF medal for India.
The Men’s Trap team of Prithviraj Tondaiman, Vivaan Kapoor and Bhowneesh Mendiratta also won silver late in the day, going down 2-6 to Slovakia in the gold medal match.
The trio had shot brilliantly to reach the final, winning the first and second qualification stages with combined scores of 213 and 629.7 respectively. Slovakians Michal Slamka, Hubert Olejnik and Adrian Drobny joined them, finishing second in qualification stage two with a score of 627.3.
It was touch and go in the gold medal match as both sides were locked at two points apiece after the first two series of shots. The Slovaks won the third series 13-11 and the fourth 13-12 to seal gold thereafter as the Indians came up with misses at the wrong time.
Each team member shoots five-single series shots and the team with the higher cumulative hits are awarded two points. The first team to six points wins the match.
In what was the day’s most sensational performance however, youngsters and India debutants Shiva Narwal and Palak, stunned the crowd as they blanked Kazakhstan’s Irina Loktionova and Vladimir Rakhimzhan 16-0 in a bronze medal encounter.
The Kazakhs could not fend off the initial onslaught by the two young Indians and wilted in the end to go down without getting on the board.
There are five gold medals to be decided on Thursday, Day 6 of competitions. The Men’s and Women’s Team golds in both 10m Air Rifle and 10m Air Pistol will be decided first with the Trap Mixed Team finals scheduled as the last final of the day.