India’s 16-year-old Manu Bhaker comfortably won the gold in women’s 10 air pistol while Heena Sidhu staged a remarkable recovery to secure silver at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Sunday to kicks-start India’s expected medal rush in the shooting events.
The duo qualified for the final with the top two scores in the qualifying round and eventually replicated that, albeit in contrasting styles, in the final.
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Bhaker’s calm and composure belied her age as she shot 240.9 to break the Commonwealth Games record, finishing well ahead of her senior teammate Sidhu, who aggregated 234.
For Sidhu, it was a case of keeping her neck above the water, so to speak, for most of the final. After a poor first series, Sidhu was on the verge of elimination at multiple points during the final. But she kept improving her shooting and went from seventh to second, and made it a famous 1-2 for India.
The bronze medal went to Australia’s Elena Galiabovitch who ended with 214.9.
Bhaker was a favourite to win the event to begin with, having bagged gold medals at the 2018 ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico and the following Junior World Cup in Sydney. She broke the qualifying record at the Games as well, and looked in control throughout the final. The crowd’s stunned applause after a perfect 10.9 during the final described the level she was operating at.
Sidhu, who had also won a silver at the Delhi Games in 2010, made up for sixth place finish in this event in Glasgow.