India won a sensational gold in the men’s trap team junior competition at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Championship Shotgun in Osijek, Croatia, beating Italy 6-4 in the gold medal match played on Saturday, day four of competitions. This was also India’s first medal of the Championship. USA won the bronze.

It was no mean feat for the trio of Shapath Bharadwaj, Shardul Vihan and Arya Vansh Tyagi, as the Italians are long established powerhouses in the shotgun discipline. Even more so as the Indians were trailing the Italian team of Edoardo Antonioli, Emanuele Iezzi and Gianmarco Barletta 0-4 before staging a fantastic comeback.

Earlier in the day, Shapath, Shardul and Arya Vansh had shot a combined 205 in the qualification stage, where each member shoots three rounds of 25 targets each, to finish second behind the Italians who shot 206, thereby making it to the gold medal match.

Nothing came easy for the Indians on the day as they tied with team USA on the same score and then beat them 2-0 in a shoot-off to first ensure a medal for themselves.

In the final, all three Indians missed a target each in the first 15-shot shoot-off. The winner of each shoot-off is awarded two points and the first to six wins. The Italians missed two and took the first two points. Luck kept eluding the Indians till the second shoot-off, where they missed two out of 15, only to find the Italians missing just one to take the round and go 4-0 up.

India was however gaining consistency and came back to win the third 13-12 to make the score 4-2. Arya Vansh shot a second consecutive perfect five to lead India’s fightback. For the Italians, it was Edoardo Antonioli who was doing the star turn with three perfect fives and he eventually did not miss in the final to finish with five perfect fives.

It got even better for the Indians as they shot a perfect 15 in the fourth shoot-out and Emanuele Iezzi missed the 13thtarget to help India draw level at 4-4.

Gianmarco Barletta then missed his first target in the fifth shoot-out and India went ahead 6-5, forcing the Italians into a time out. That did not help, as Iezzi missed the first shot after it and the Indians marched along for a 9-7 lead. They had not missed 24 straight targets.

They made that 26 before Vihan missed the 27th but the Indians were still ahead 11-9. The Italians finished strong getting all three of their last birds but the Indians were equal to it closing out 14-12 with Arya Vansh shooting four straight fives and an overall 24 out of 25 targets.

In the Trap Team Women Junior event, the Indian trio of Preeti Rajak, Sabeera Haris and Aadya Tripathi could not however make much headway, bowing out in the qualification stage with a combined effort of 172. They finished seventh.