Shooting, an old faithful for India in multi-sports events, was the discipline that provided the country its first gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Monday.
Competing in the men’s 10m air rifle team event, the trio of Divyansh Singh Panwar, Rudrankksh Patil and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar combined to shoot a new world record score of 1893.7 to claim the gold medal.
“We were focused on our own individual events and we did not plan for the world record,” Patil said later in an interview with Sony Sports Network.
The total team score bettered the one set by China, 1893.3, at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, last month.
Second on Monday was the team from South Korea, scoring 1890.1, followed by China in the bronze-medal place with 1888.2.
In the tally, Patil scored 632.5 to finish third in the individual event qualification round. Tomar scored 631.6 to finish in fifth spot and Panwar scored 629.6 to finish in eight. All three would have made it to the final of the individual event – which is for the top eight finishers in the qualification round. However, only two athletes per country can compete in a shooting final, therefore Panwar was forced to exit the contest.
In the final, Tomar eventually won the bronze medal with Patil finishing in fourth place. However, there was a little drama between the two Indians.
With four shooters remaining, both were tied on 208.7 at the end of the seventh series (20 shots each). A shoot-off would declare who would finish in fourth place and how would stand on the podium.
Both were locked on 208.7 points each at the end of the seventh series, with four shooters remaining. Patil scored a strong 10.5 but Tomar hit a near-perfect 10.8 (10.9 is the best possible score).
In the other shooting event of the day, the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol team won the bronze medal. Adarsh Singh, Anish Bhanwala and Vijayveer Sidhu combined to score a total of 1718 to finish in third place behind silver-medallists South Korea (1734) and China (1765).
From the trio however, only Sidhu made it to the individual final.
The 21-year-old finished in sixth pace in the qualification round with a total score of 582. Adarsh Singh finished in 14th place with a score of 576, while Bhanwala finished 22nd with a score of 560. Bizarrely, Bhanwala seemed to have missed the target complete on his final shot and his score on the last attempted was registered as zero.
In the final, Sidhu made a slow start, registering just two hits from his first five attempts. He scored three times in the next series to get to a total of five, and then scored four in the third series for total of nine just before the elimination rounds began.
Last in the pile, Sidhu scored a perfect five in the next series to avoid elimination at the expense of Pakistan’s Ghulam Mustafa Bashir. He followed that up with another strong four – to get to 18 – as Indonesia’s Anang Yulianto was eliminated.
At that stage, Sidhu trailed China’s Liu Yangpan 18-19 but only managed registering three hits in his next series, finishing in fourth place.
The shotgun and pistol events will begin on Tuesday.
Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, Gurjoat Khangura and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa will compete in the men’s skeet event, while the Ganemat Sekhon, Darshna Rathore and Parinaaz Dhaliwal compete in the women’s skeet.
Rhythm Sangwan, Esha Singh and Manu Bhaker will compete in the women’s 25m pistol qualification event.
The rifle shooters will also be in action, competing in the mixed event. Ramita Jindal pairs up with Panwar as the sole Indian team entered in the contest.