Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil, reigning 10m air rifle world champion, won his first individual senior world cup stage gold, at the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup Rifle/Pistol in Cairo, Egypt.

The Indian youngster upstaged German challenger Maxmillian Ulbrich 16-8 in the gold medal match of the men’s 10m Air Rifle competition on day three of the event.

This was Rudrankksh’s second and India’s third gold of the tournament, after he had won the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event on Monday, alongside R Narmada Nithin.

Meet Rudrankksh Patil: Shooter, researcher, India’s 10m air rifle world champion

At the same Egypt International Olympic City Shooting range where he had won the world crown last October, Rudrankksh shot 629.3 in his qualification relay to rank sixth among shooters competing for a medal. In-fact, teammate Shahu Tushar Mane was the best Indian in the 73-strong field with a score of 630.9, placing him second overall but he was fighting for ranking points only. Two other Indians in the medal hunt, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Hriday Hazarika, also shot well finishing with scores of 628.9 and 628.8 respectively, but finished just outside the top eight.

In the ranking round, where the top eight qualifiers face-off over five series of five single shots each, to determine the top two who make it to the gold medal match, seasoned Israeli shooter Sergey Richter led after the first series with the Indian 1.2 behind in fifth.

The champion came into his elements from the second series and a perfect 10.9 for his 10th, gave him the lead for the first time. He held on to that slender 0.2 points lead over Croat Miran Maricic till the end of the third series and by the end of the fourth, that lead had swelled to 1.1. Israel’s Richter was holding on to third. With only four shooters left in the fray, the world champion topped by a distance with a score of 262 after 25-shots, however Maricic and Richter fell away as the young German Ulbrich came up quietly to finish second with 260.6. Maricic managed bronze with 260.5.

The German had earned the right to fight the world champion for gold and fight he did. The scores were tied 7-7 after the first seven single shots. However, Rudrankksh took the next three series to lead 13-7, despite the German coach calling for a timeout after the ninth series. Ulbrich kept fighting earning a tie in the 11th series but Rudrankksh closed it out clinically in the 12th series.

Teenager Sen strikes bronze

India’s Tilottama Sen, 14, won bronze in the women’s 10m Air Rifle, the final medal event of competition day three. Great Britain’s Seonaid Mcintosh, beat Switzerland’s Olympic Champion Nina Christen 16-8 in the decider to win gold. Tilottama ended the top eight ranking round with a score of 262.0, missing out on the gold medal match by the narrowest possible margin of 0.1. Her medal was India’s fifth of the competition, a second bronze to add to three golds.

The Briton was in her elements from the qualification round itself, topping the 95-strong field with a score of 634.0, after 60-shots. Tilottama, who also shot the second qualification relay, was second with 632.7. She was joined in the top eights by two other Indians - Ramita, yet another teenager, who shot 630.6 to take the sixth qualifying spot and the winner of the Air Rifle Mixed Team event, Narmada Nithin, who grabbed the eighth and final spot with an effort of 630.5.

While Narmada bowed out in seventh position, both Tilottama and Ramita fought bravely for a spot in the title round with the experienced Seonaid and women’s 3P Olympic Champion Nina, being matched shot for shot. The duo however fell short with Ramita finishing fourth and Tilottama finishing in the third spot.

India is placed comfortably on top of the medal tally with three golds, with Hungary, Britain and Slovakia winning the other three awarded. There are four more finals coming up in the next couple of days.