Olympian Elavenil Valarivan won her second gold at the Olympic Shooting Centre range in Rio de Janeiro, winning the women’s 10m air rifle competiton, at the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup Rifle/Pistol stage, currently underway in the Brazilian seaside city.
Elavenil was perfection personified in the strong eight-woman finals field, never scoring below 10.1 throughout the 24-shots. She finished with a score of 252.2, to outgun France’s 20-year-old sensation Oceanne Muller, who won silver with 251.9. China’s Zhang Jiale won bronze.
The Indian had earlier on Saturday morning, qualified for the final, clinching the eighth and final spot with a score of 630.5. Muller had topped with 633.7. Besides two Chinese shooters Zhang Jiale and Zhang Yu, reigning European champion from Norway, Jeanette Hegg Duestad was also amongst the finalists.
Zhang Jiale led after the first five shots with a sizzling 53.4, while Elavenil was in joint second with two others on 52.6. A round of 52.1 for her next five shots, saw her take the joint lead after 10 shots, this time with the second Chinese, Zhang Yu for company.
Austrian Marlene Pribitzer was first to be eliminated in eighth place in her first ISSF World Cup final after 12 shots. Meanwhile it was evidently turning into a battle between the Indian, Muller, Duestad and the two Chinese shooters.
After 16-shots, Muller led from Duestad and Elavenil but a 10.9 for her 17th shot, meant that the Indian was up to second after 18-shots, one behind Muller and 0.5 ahead of Duestad and Zhang Jiale.
Muller and Elavenil were mentally the strongest of the four in the end calculations, shooting solidly till the end and with the final two shots left, Elavenil opened up a gap of 0.5 with Muller as the Frenchwoman shot a 9.8 for her 22nd shot.
Jiale cracked to win bronze. Thereafter Elavenil closed out confidently with two solid 10.6s and despite Muller’s 10.8 and 10.6, the Indian emerged triumphant by 0.3 points.
In the men’s 10m air rifle, Sandeep Singh, India’s lone contender, shot 628.2 in qualification to finish in 14th spot.
Earlier on Friday, Elavenil had teamed up with Singh in the 10m air rifle mixed team to finish fifth with a combined score of 629.1.
The fourth and final medal round spot went to Israel, who were 0.5 points ahead of the Indian pair in the 42-team field. While Ela shot 314.8, Sandeep shot 314.3 as the Indians narrowly missed a shot at bronze. Israel did win bronze eventually, while Germany won gold and Hungary, silver.
A 16-member Indian team is taking part in the Rio World Cup in as many as seven Olympic events. Italy lead the medal standings with two golds while India are joint third with Armenia as 11 nations have medalled in the World Cup so far.