India had a great start to the year’s fourth and final International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup as 20-year-old Elavenil Valarivan won gold in the women’s 10m air rifle for her first senior medal. India has now won three out of the four World Cup gold medals in the women’s 10m air rifle this year.
The two-time Junior World Cup gold medallist lead the field for most part finishing with a score of 251.7 in the finals, maintaining a comfortable lead over silver medallist Seonaid Mcintosh of Britain who won silver with an effort of 250.6.
Chinese Taipei’s Ying-Shin Lin won bronze as well as one of the two Tokyo 2020 quota places on offer. The second quota was won by Iran as India already has the maximum of two quota places awarded in each discipline.
Anjum Moudgil, who had won silver at the ISSF World Championship, finished sixth in her third World Cup final of the year.
Earlier in qualification, the youngster from Gujarat finished ahead of her compatriots with 629.4 to world No 2 Moudgil’s 629.1 as they took the fourth and fifth spots through to the eight-woman final.
World No 1 and finals world record holder Apurvi Chandela missed out by a whisker, finishing 11th with a score 627.7. In fact, such has been India’s dominance in the event that Mehuli Ghosh, shooting in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section shot a 629.1, which would have earned her a final spot as well.
In the final, Moudgil lead the field after the first five shots before a poor second series saw her go down to fifth by the 12th shot.
However, Elavenil Valarivan was shooting brilliantly by now had caught up to lead ahead of Mcintosh, as the American Mary Tucker became first to be eliminated in 8th place after the 12th.
The Korean Kim, then went out in seventh after the 14th shot at which stage there were three athletes, including Elavenil and Mcintosh, who were jointly in the lead with a score of 147.1.
Moudgil missed out in fifth place as in a fight with Romania’s Laura-Georgeta Coman and with 0.1 separating them, she shot a 10.1 to Coman’s 10.4 to go out in fifth.
Meanwhile Elavenil was dishing out a master-class with a series of high 10s, which saw her 1.4 in the lead with four shots of the 24-shot final to go.
The Indian and Brit battled till the end, but it was the Indian who prevailed for a milestone win, even with a poor 9.6 on the final shot.
In the women’s 25m pistol, Annu Raj Singh, making a comeback to the India squad, shot a solid 292 in the precision stage to set herself in 12th spot ahead of the rapid fire round on Thursday. Compatriot Chinky Yadav shot 290 to lie in 17th place while Abhidnya Ashok Patil shot 286 to be further back in 43rd spot.
In the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions competition, there was a qualification world record in the first elimination round itself as Austria’s Jan Lochbihler shot 1188 to set the new mark.
India’s Sanjeev Rajput shot 1170 in the first elimination round to sail through with a 14th spot finish. He will now shoot the qualifying round on Thursday morning, for a shot in the finals. So will Parul Kumar who finished 10th in his elimination round with a score of 1169. Chain Singh shot 1163 in the same round as Rajput to end in 27th position.
Thursday has as many as three finals on the schedule beginning with the Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions, followed by the Women’s 25m Pistol and the Men’s 10m Air Pistol being the concluding final of the day.