New Delhi/ Bhopal: Young Indian shooter Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar claimed the gold medal in the men's 50m rifle 3 positions event, consolidating the host nation's top standing in the ISSF World Cup here on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old from Bhopal shot 462.5 to win the top prize ahead of Hungary's star rifleman Istvan Peni (461.6) and Denmark's Steffen Olsen (450.9) at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. This was India's eighth gold medal at the ongoing marquee event.
The other Indians in the final, veteran Sanjeev Rajput and Niraj Kumar, finished sixth and eighth respectively. After an impressive start following which he led for a while, Tomar slipped in the standings but fought back strongly with a 10.4, 10.5 and 10.3 in the standing elimination stage.
Tomar is a Tokyo Olympics quota-holder. He won the bronze medal in the 50 metre rifle 3 positions event at the 2019 Asian Shooting Championships to secure a quota place for India at the Olympics.
This comes three days after Tomar combined with Deepak Kumar and Pankaj Kumar to win the silver medal in the men's team air rifle event.
In the event, Rajput led the qualification with 1172, while Tomar and Kumar shot identical score of 1165.
Istvan Peni, Aleksi Leppa (Finland), Jan Lochbihler (Switzerland), Juho Kurki (Finland) and Olsen were the others to make the final, which was a 45-shot contest comprising the three series of kneeling, prone and standing.
Tomar, who failed to clear selection trials at the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy seven years ago, led the eight-man final at the end of the kneeling position with 155.0 and was in second place after prone with 310.5, behind Olsen (311.4) and ahead of Peni (309.9).
The gold medal is a far cry from the time when he was disqualified from his first Nationals in 2015, and then suspended for an entire year due to a technical reason.
Training rigorously for a year, he returned in 2016 and in 2018, Tomar won three gold medals in the junior nationals in all three rifle disciplines.
Having made his way into the Indian junior team, Tomar shone in the events he participated in before securing the Olympic quota.