India’s tremendous run at the ISSF World Cup in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil continued on Saturday as Yashaswini Singh Deswal clinched the 10m air pistol gold medal and confirmed India’s ninth quota place for Tokyo 2020 in shooting.
The 22-year-old Deswal stunned former Olympic and World Champion Olena Kostevych of Ukraine in the process.
This was also the second and final quota place earned in the 10m air pistol women’s event, following Manu Bhaker’s effort earlier in the season.
Kostevych and Jasmina Milovanovic from Serbia completed the podium, with the latter earning the second quota place available at the event in Rio.
In the ongoing World Cup, this was India’s third gold medal, following Elavenil Valarivan and Abhishek Verma’s efforts earlier.
Deswal topped qualification with a superb 582 leading from start to finish in the 60-shot round. She entered the final having to be one of six finalists who were eligible to win quotas, among them Kostevych.
Playing her fifth senior world cup and only her second final, the former junior world champion, led from the first shot, (save the 15th when she fell just 0.1 behind to regain the lead on the 16th) of the 24-shot final to finish with 236.7 to the Ukranian champion’s 234.8 for a memorable victory. Milovanovic of Serbia won bronze with 215.7.
Deswal had a brief stutter in the final, like during the 21st shot when she scored a 9.7 bringing about a grimace, looking aware of the champion closing in who had roared with a 10.9. But she was in there for a fight, hitting back immediately with a 10.5, like she had been throughout the final. Her two final shots where in the 9s, but importantly both were higher than those of the Ukranian champion.
Among India’s other competitors in the event Annu Raj Singh shot 572 for a 21st place finish while Shweta Singh finished 31st shooting a score of 568 in qualifying.
Earlier in the day Kajal Saini of India delivered a improved performance in the Women’s 50m Rifle 3-Positions (3P) coming in 22nd with a qualifying round score of 1167. Former world champion in Prone, Tejaswini Sawant finished 47th with a score of 1156.
In the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, Adarsh Singh and Anish Bhanwala shot 291 out of 300 in the first Precision round to be in 13th and 14th spots respectively. Anhad Jawanda, the third Indian in the fray shot 281 to be in 48th spot. The trio will comeback for the final Rapid Fire round on Sunday to try and make it among the top six finalists. The men’s RFP is the only final scheduled for Sunday.
Indians also continued to do well in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section. Manu Bhaker and Esha Singh finished 1-2 in the women’s 10m Air Pistol shooting scores of 580 and 577 respectively, which would have seen them both through to the finals in case they were competing for medals.