The Indian Men’s 10m Air Rifle trio of Rudrankksh Patil, recently crowned world champion in the individual event, Kiran Jadhav and Arjun Babuta, won India’s fifth gold medal of the on-going International Shooting Sport Federation World Championship Rifle/Pistol campaign in Cairo, Egypt, defeating a strong China 16-10 in the gold medal match.
It was also Rudrankksh’s second senior world championship gold in his competition debut. He had earlier also won India a quota spot for Paris 2024.
The women’s 10m Air Pistol team of Palak, Rhythm Sangwan and Yuvika Tomar lost 16-8 to China in the gold medal match to clinch silver for India.
With five golds, two silvers and six bronze medals, India are in second place in the overall medal tally behind China, who have won 12 gold medals along with six silver and three bronze medals.
Shooting on competition day four at the Egypt International Olympic City range, the champion Men’s Air Rifle team raced ahead 14-2 in the final against a Chinese team which had Yang Haoran (double Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion), Lihao Sheng (Tokyo Olympics silver medallist) and Song Buhan (world championship silver medallist). They mounted a strong comeback to win the next four series and narrow the gap to 14-10, but the Indian’s held their own in the final series to clinch the crown.
Both the teams were at each other from Saturday itself when the Chinese prevailed over the Indians, both in round one of qualification of 28 teams and then in the top eight second round as well. In round one they edged out India by 0.4, while 0.9 was the difference in round two. In the match that mattered however, it was the Indians who finally stamped their supremacy over the Chinese in Men’s Air Rifle in this world championship edition at least, winning both the individual and team titles.
The Air Pistol Women’s team pipped Iran to second place in the qualifiers by a point to reach the gold medal match against China. The trio of Palak, Rhythm and Yuvika lost a couple of close series as China raced to a 12-4 lead. Though India won two more series to spark hopes of a comeback, China sealed the gold medal winning the match 16-8.
The Air Rifle Women, who had a heartbreak in the individual event, redeemed themselves with a bronze in the Team event, prevailing 17-11 in a nail-biter against Germany in the medal match. Meghana Sajjanar shot two consecutive 10.9s in the crucial stages to clinch the deal along with partners Elavenil Valarivan and Mehuli Ghosh. They had earlier finished third in qualification stage two to miss out on the gold match by 0.6 points. In stage one, they had shot 947.0 to finish second, a mere 0.1 behind China, among 30 teams.
Manvi Jain and Sameer won India’s first silver of the championships going down to China’s Feng Sixuan and Liu Yangpan 17-03 in the gold medal match of the 25m Standard Pistol Mixed Team Junior competition. They had come second in stage one of qualification with a score of 564 and then topped stage two with a combined effort of 378 to make it to the title decider.
Payal Khatri and Sahil Dudhane won India’s fourth bronze of the championships in the same event, defeating Ane Torgersen and Hans Noestvold of Norway 16-14 in a close encounter. The pair had finished third in stage one with 563 and then third again in stage two with 368, to qualify for the bronze match.
In the Men’s 10m Air Pistol Team competition, the Indian team comprising Shiva Narwal, Naveen and Vijayveer Sidhu shot 580 in qualification stage two to finish fifth eventually. Also, in the Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Team Junior event, India’s Nishchal, Nikita Kundu and Nupur Kumrawat ended 10th in qualification with a score of 1278.
Later in the day, the Junior Men’s 50m 3P, the team of Surya Pratap Singh, Pankaj Mukheja and Sartaj Singh Tiwana outplayed Austria 16-4 to win the bronze medal encounter for India’s final medal of the day. They finished third in round one of qualification with 1293 points and then third again in round two with 860 points to reach the bronze play-off.