Rahi Sarnobat sealed a Olympic quota place for India in style as she cruised to victory in the women’s 25m pistol at the season’s third International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Munich on Monday.
The Indian won the gold with a score of 37 (out of 50 shots) in the final. This is India’s first Olympic quota spot in this event.
However Manu Bhaker, the other Indian in the fray, was unlucky to miss out on the podium after a weapon malfunction saw her slip to fifth spot after leading the field. She fired a blank round to be eliminated, finishing fifth. The teenager was noticeably emotional as she fell early in the final.
Sarnobat, the Asian Games champion, was second in the final behind compatriot Bhaker. However, once she got the lead, she maintained it till the gold medal shot.
Olena Kostevych of Ukraine won silver with 36 hits while Bulgaria’s Antoaneta Boneva won bronze with 26.
Earlier in qualification, Sarnobat finished fourth with a score of 586-25x (25 inner 10s) while teenager Bhaker shot 585-17x to finish fifth.
This will be a significant medal for Sarnobat, who was the first Indian woman to seal an Olympic quota in sport pistol for London 2012. However, she missed the next edition in 2016 after a career-threatening injury. She will now try to ensure she makes it to Tokyo after winning another quota for India in the event.
Bhaker will get another shot in the women’s 10m air pistol on Wednesday after her unfortunate incident in sport pistol.
Also on Monday, Saurabh Chaudhary continued his sensational streak in finals as he shattered the junior and senior world record winning his second ISSF World Cup gold.
The 17-year-old shattered his own senior record of 245 points, set in Delhi earlier this year, to win the 10m air pistol gold with a score of 246.3. His junior world record was 245.5 points.
On Sunday, Apurvi Chandela (who has already earned a quota place in the 10m air rifle), won her second World Cup gold medal.
Overall, India now has six quota places in rifle and pistol competitions for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.