India’s Apurvi Chandela opened first shooting World Cup of 2019 in style, clinching a gold medal with a world record score of 252.9 medal in a thrilling final of the women’s 10m air rifle event on Saturday in New Delhi.

Backed by vociferous crowd support, the Indian shooter was leading by 0.8 points against Zhao Rouzho of China with just two shots remaining. She then shot 10.8 against Zhao’s 10.5 to extend the lead to 1.1. She eventually claimed the gold with a shot of 10.5, breaking the previous world record held by Zhou.

The Indian started slow and was placed seventh after her first shot. But she showed remarkable consistency in the second series to move to the fourth spot. From then on, she shot a solid group with no shot going under 10.

She moved to the top in sixth series with a 10.6 and improved on it with a stunning 10.8 to open up a good lead, which she maintained till the end. There wasn’t a single poor shot from the 26-year-old (the oldest shooter in the final eight) who showed remarkable consistency and composure to win her first World Cup gold medal.

She had narrowly missed out on the gold in a dramatic final in Munich last year.

Courtesy: ISSF

The silver and bronze were won by China’s Ruoshu Zhao and Hong Xu respectively. Both Chinese shooters had led the table before the Indian blazed through. Chandela, along with Anjum Moudgil, had already assured India of their quota places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in this category. The gold medal is the icing on that cake.

Chandela was the only Indian to make it to the first final. The 26-year-old was placed fourth out of the eight finalists with a total score of 629.3 after qualification at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. The other two Indians in the fray – Anjum Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan – finished 12th (628) and 30th (625.3) respectively.

China’s Ruozhu Zhao topped the chart with a qualification World Record score of 634.

Meanwhile, Mehuli Ghosh who is not part of the Indian team and was shooting in the MQS category, scored a superb 631, which is the highest by an Indian in the event.