Indian shooters started the new season on a strong note with three medals, including a world record gold, on the first day of the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Mexico on Saturday.
Shahzar Rizvi won the gold in the men’s 10m air pistol, where veteran shooter Jitu Rai claimed the bronze and teenager Mehuli Ghosh took home the bronze in the women’s 10m air rifle event. This is the first senior world event for both Rizvi and Ghosh.
Competing in his first senior World Cup, Rizvi shot a world record score of 242.3 in the 24-shot final to beat an Olympic champion and clinch gold. Rai shot 219 to win the bronze with Germany’s Christian Reitz, the reigning Olympic champion in men’s 25M Rapid Fire Pistol, came in second with 239.7. India’s Om Prakash Mitharval finished fourth behind Jitu Rai with a score of 198.4.
Rizvi had finished second in the qualifying, behind Reitz shooting 579 to Reitz’s 588 after 60-shots. Rai was one behind Shahzar with 578, while Mitharval shot 576 to qualify in fourth place.
Junior world record for Mehuli Ghosh
In the women’s 10m air rifle, Ghosh won the bronze with a junior world record score of 228.4.
The Indian trio of Ghosh, Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil had all made it to the eight-woman final, but the other two had finished seventh and eighth respectively in the qualifying round. Ghosh and Anjum Moudgil were in medal contention till the last few rounds. But a 9.9 on the 17th shot meant Moudgil ended in fourth position with a score of 208.6.
Romania’s Laura Georgeta Coman, who won gold in the Munich World Cup last year and a silver at the World Cup Finals, led throughout winning the gold with 251.5 while China’s Hong Xu won silver with 251.0.
Sunday will see Indian compete in the men’s 10m air rifle and women’s 10m air pistol. Deepak Kumar, Ravi Kumar and Arjun Babuta will carry India’s hopes in the men’s event, while Mahima Agrawal, Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Singh Deswal will be in the fray in the women’s event.