A podium eluded them on the final day but India had done enough to finish their best-ever campaign at the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the top of the medals tally with four gold, one silver and three bronze.
Two-time Olympic champion Vincent Hancock of the USA won the men’s skeet competition, the concluding event of the year’s first International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup.
Among the three Indian shooters in the fray, Smit Singh shot 116 in the qualifying to be placed 15th, Angad Bajwa shot 115 to end in 18th spot while Sheeraz Sheikh secured the 30th spot with a score of 112.
India, however topped the medals tally for the first time in an ISSF competition with four gold, one silver and four bronze for a total of nine medals. Hancock, who had won gold at the Beijing and London Olympics, had gone into a bit of a slump after winning the 2015 World Championships and made a comeback of sorts with this win.
He did it in style by first topping qualification with a sublime 123 out of 125 and followed it up in the final with a world record equalling 59 out of 60. He was matched by Paul Adams of Australia and finally got the better of him 6-5 in a shoot-off for gold.
Italy’s Tammaro Cassandro won bronze with 49 hits in the final. India’s Smit was placed seventh in the beginning of the day and stood a chance of qualifying but rounds of 22,23 and 23 put paid to all such hopes. Angad Bajwa returned rounds of 24, 25 and 24 but had dropped too far behind on day one of qualifying and Sheeraz Sheikh did not look in his element in this competition.
The failure on the last day notwithstanding, India will return home with happy memories. Shahzar Rizvi, Manu Bhaker, Akhil Sheoran and Om Prakash Mitharval won the gold medals in the competition, Anjum Moudgil bagged a silver, while established names such as Jitu Rai, Ravi Kumar finished with bronze.
Though he did not win a medal, Sanjeev Rajput too shot very well and missed out by a whisker.