Anish Bhanwala, on Friday, created history as he won a bronze medal in men’s 25m rapid fire pistol – the first-ever for India in the ISSF World Cup Final history.
It capped a momentous year for the 21-year-old, where he broke through with a first ever senior individual ISSF World Cup stage medal, a first senior Asian Championships medal and a 2024 Paris Olympics quota place to boot.
Bhanwala shot 27 out of 35 in the finalto finish behind World Championships bronze medallist Peter Florian and China’s double Olympic medallist Li Yuehong.
Bhanwala, who was India’s final surviving in Doha, had earlier finished sixth in the qualification round with a score of 581. It was just enough to pip Germany’s Christian Reitz, who missed out on a final spot.
With all three 2023 World Championships medallists in the final, the Haryana lad had his work cut out.
Florian, blasted four perfect fives to start and then had another five in the seventh series, which was enough to give him gold. Yuehong also had four perfect series of five-hits and a couple of fours, which took him to the silver medal position.
Bhanwala, on the other hand, did well to keep pace with the high level of shooting all around, blasting two fives for his third and fourth series to go with three series of four-hits each.
China’s Jueming Zhang was the first to be eliminated with a score of 12 after the first four series. He was followed by Clement Bessaguet who had 18 shots on target after five series.
Bhanwala, who was trailing Czech Republic’s Matej Rampula by a single shot, managed to hit only two targets in the sixth series. Rampula, however, crumbled with a no-hit in his five shots to hand the Indian a medal.
Bhanwala was two behind Yuehong, the reigning world champion, when he bowed out after the seventh series.
Akhil Sheoran finishes fifth
Earlier in the day, Akhil Sheoran finished fifth in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions event, making him the fifth Indian finalist at this year’s WCF to finish outside the medals.
Sheoran, who has had a great year which included a bronze at the World Championships, shot a total of 588 in the qualification round to finish seventh and move into the final.
He then shot a total of 429.8 in the final to bow out in the fifth place.
Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Sift Kaur Samra, had also qualified for the season-ending event in the 50m rifle 3 positions event but pulled out ahead of the tournament.