Sixteen-year-old Manu Bhaker showed that she has a very strong head on her young shoulders as she overcame a 1.4 point deficit on the last shot to win the Women’s 10m Air Pistol gold in the year’s first International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup stage in Mexico’s Guadalajara on Sunday.
Bhaker, who recently earned a quota place for the Beunos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games scheduled for October, needed some luck and a strong finish to overcome home favourite Alejandra Zavala, a two-time World Cup Finals winner.
And the shooter from Haryana responded with a 10.6 while Zavala hit a lowly 8.8 to hand the gold medal to the Indian with a final score of 237.5. Zavala ended with 237.1 while Celine Goberville of France won the Bronze with a score of 217.0. India’s Yashaswini Singh Deswal missed out on a medal, finishing fourth with 196.1.
At the end of competition day two, India’s medal tally now stands at five with two Gold medals and three bronze, the latest coming in the 10m Air Rifle event. Shahzar Rizvi and Jitu Rai had won gold and bronze in the Men’s 10M Air Pistol and Mehuli Ghosh won bronze in the Women’s 10M Air Rifle on the first day of competitions on Saturday.
Ravi Kumar added another bronze to the tally on Sunday in the 10m Air Rifle event before Bhaker ended the day with a gold.
Bhaker had shot a junior qualifying world record score of 572 to qualify in fifth position while Deswal shot 571 to make it to the eight-woman final in seventh place.
Reacting after winning the medal, Manu Bhaker said, “ I am extremely happy at winning Gold, especially as this is my first World Cup. I look forward to perform even better in upcoming competitions.”
Commenting on the brilliant start to the new season of international shooting sport, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh, said, “ This is a dream start. The young guns and future of Indian shooting are firing on all cylinders and let us only hope that these are signs of even better things to come in the near future. Manu showed excellent composure for one so young and Ravi’s consistency over the past year or so has also been heartening to watch. We are now hungry for more.”
First World Cup medal for Ravi Kumar
Earlier Ravi Kumar had also bagged his first World Cup medal with a final score of 226.4 beating compatriot Deepak Kumar in a shoot-off for third and fourth place.
Ravi had made it to three finals last year, including in the World Cup Finals, but had failed to bag a medal.
Hungary’s Istvan Peni took the gold with a final shot of 10.6 after chasing Austria’s Alexander Schmiri, who took silver, for most part of the final.