Hosting the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup Final for the first time, India notched their best-ever finish at the year-end event with three medals.
India finished seventh on the overall medal tally, with a medal of each colour. The medal-winners are Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai who won the first-ever gold in the 10m air pistol mixed team event, Sangram Dahiya who claimed silver in men’s double trap and Amanpreet Singh who got bronze in men’s 50m pistol.
Here’s a recap of how the Indians in action at the ISSF World Cup Final fared.
Starting strong with gold
India began their world cup campaign on the best possible note winning the first-ever gold in the newly-introduced mixed team event. Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai combined to win the 10m air pistol mixed team gold. It was a historic medals as this was the first time that mixed team events were officially granted medal status at an ISSF World Cup Final.
This was also the Indian pair’s third gold in the event this year, having won both the test events at two earlier World Cup stages this year in New Delhi and Gabala. They finished with a combined total of 483.4 after 48 shots.
The mixed team competitions were organised as test events in the World Cups held earlier this year and will be making their Olympic debut in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Days of disappointment
The initial gold rush was followed by a couple of days of disappointment. On Wednesday, Ravi Kumar finished at the bottom of the heap in a high-scoring 10m air rifle final. Competing in his first World Cup Final, Kumar shot 123.4 in the eight-man event before becoming the first to be eliminated in the third series.
On Thursday, Rai and Pooja Ghatkar, the two Indians in action, failed to get past the qualification round. Both Rai, in 10m air pistol, and Ghatkar, in 10m air rifle, were placed ninth in the qualification.
Two medals in a day
After a static medal tally for two days, India struck with two medals on Friday. All eyes were on Jitu Rai, Ankur Mittal and Shapath Bharwaj on the day, but the medals from unexpected quarters. First, Amanpreet Singh shot his way to a bronze medal in the 50m pistol, followed by Sangram Dahiya’s silver in men’s double’s trap.
In a tense final that saw two Indians qualify, Singh held his nerve in the tense moments of the elimination round to make it to the top three. He finished with 202.2 points. In the qualifying round, he had finished seventh spot shooting 545 out of 600.
In double trap, Dahiya was in terrific form in the event India were touted to sweep. He first topping qualifying with a score of 144 out of 150 and then scored 76 in the 80-shot final to clinch silver. He finished three shots behind the eventual gold medal winner Hu Binyuan from China, who won his first gold medal at the World Cup with a world record.
Even though India won three medals, there were a few notable names missing in the list. Top among them was Ankur Mittal, the current world No 1 in double trap. He was second in the qualification round with a score of 139, but finished fourth in the six-man final with a score of 45 after 50 shots.
Jitu Rai, despite winning gold on the first day, was off-colour in the men’s pistol events he had qualified in. He was the first to bow out in the final in seventh place in the 50m pistol final, finishing seventh with a low score of 123.2. He had earlier shot 561 to qualify fourth for the final.