Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu combined to give India their first gold medal of the ISSF World Cup Final in New Delhi on the opening day of competition. The prolific Indian pair also became the first two shooters to win crystal globes in the 10m air pistol mixed team competition. The event is being held officially in a World Cup for the first time.
Rai, a Commonwealth and Asian Games gold-medallist, and Sidhu, also a former Commonwealth Games gold-winner, picked up their third gold together in the mixed team event. They had also won the gold at the ISSF World Cup Stage 1 that took place in New Delhi in February.
Sidhu was glad to win the first-ever medal in the event but admitted that playing in front of their home crowd added a burden of expectation. “It feels great to win here in front of our people, even if this puts a little extra-pressure on us,” Sidhu told the International Shooting Sport Federation after the medal ceremony.
“There were high expectations on us and a lot of eyes were looking at me and Jitu for this final, that’s why we trained a lot together in the last few days,” she added.
Rai was all praise for the format in which he has recent success. “We like this format, it’s a bit longer than the other ones we tried, but we like definitely like it,” he was quoted as saying.
The mixed team shooting events, which will be part of the 2020 Olympics, are full-fledged medal events at the ongoing World Cup Final in Delhi. Another India pair, Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar, have qualified for 10m air rifle mixed team final which will be held later today.