Vijayveer Sidhu won silver in the men’s 25m rapid-fire pistol at the on-going Asia Olympic Qualification Rifle/Pistol in Jakarta to give India a record 17th Paris 2024 Olympics quota place, the first time ever that India has clinched all possible (four) Olympic spots in the 25m pistol events.

Sidhu got 28-hits in the final, to finish behind Kazakh Nikita Chiryukin, who shot 32 for gold, while also taking home the second available Paris quota in the event. Jong-Ho Song of Korea was third.

“Yes, I am very very happy. We trained very hard in the camps and also after coming here,” Sidhu said after winning silver.

“The range is quite similar to the Delhi range. I am not too happy with my qualification score and we know the areas we need to work on after we come back, but very happy with the way I shot the finals. I want to dedicate this to my parents, family and friends and of course to my coaches for the support.”

India now has a tally of 11 gold, 10 silver and seven bronze medals for the continental qualifiers and are quite a distance ahead at the top over second placed China.

Quota on qualification

Sidhu’s quota place was confirmed even before the first bullet was fired in the final. With a rapid-fire round of 289 on Saturday morning, Vijayveer totalled 577 in the qualification round to finish fourth among the 31 medal contenders in fray.

The Kazakh topped here too with a good solid 584 while the Korean Song was second and Japan’s Dai Yoshioka was third. Two more Koreans made up the top six finalists. Korea had already exhausted their two-quota limit in earlier competitions and the Japanese Dai was also a Paris quota holder before entering this competition. That meant Chiryukin and Sidhu clinched the two available Paris spots.

The Indian then had a great start to the 40-shot (eight series of five rapid-fire shots) final, scoring four-hits in each of his first four series. Chiryukin meanwhile posted two fives in the first four to surge to the top.

Sidhu then shot three and four in the next two to claim sole second for the first time, one ahead of Song, as the rest of the field narrowed to three. Song faltered in the seventh series with just one hit to confirm Sidhu’s silver as there was no catching Nikita.

Sixth double-podium as Samra, Choukey win silver-bronze

In Saturday’s first result, Sift Kaur Samra and Ashi Chouksey first combined with Olympian Anjum Moudgil to win India gold in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) team competition quite comprehensively, and then ended in silver and bronze positions respectively, in the individual final.

This was India’s sixth double podium finish in senior competitions at the Senayan Shooting range in Jakarta this time around.

All three Indians entered the women’s 3P final when Ashi shot 588 to qualify fourth even as Moudgil and Samra shot 586 each to take the sixth and seventh qualifying spots. China’s Miao Wannu was top of the pile with 589.

The gauntlet in the gruelling 45-shot final however, was thrown by experienced Korean Lee Eunseo, when she posted a dizzy 155.7 after the first 15 shots in the kneeling position to soar to the lead.

She never threw that start away as things were changing drastically all around her. Of the three Indians, Moudgil had the best start, placing fourth after the first position. While she maintained her position after the second series of 15 shots in the prone position, it was Samra who blazed the series to surge to second. Chouksey was still at fifth.

After the first 10-shots in the final standing position, it was Chouksey’s turn to surge as Samra and Moudgil still maintained second and third, with Lee now comfortable at the top. It was after the 41st shot that Chouksey overtook Moudgil and eventually prevailed by 0.1 to claim bronze. Samra found herself 1.9 short of Lee.

All in all, a profitable day yet again for India with the attention now shifting to the shotgunners in Kuwait City, where the Asia Shotgun qualifiers for Paris get underway from January 14, 2024.