Deepak Kumar
Deepak Kumar

Doha: Birthday boy Deepak Kumar gifted himself a bronze medal in men's 10m air rifle for India's 10th Olympic quota in shooting on the opening day of the 14th Asian Championship here on Tuesday. The Jakarta Asian Games silver medallist shot 227.8 in the eight-man final to finish third on the podium and add to India's quotas for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Deepak, who turned 32 on Tuesday, qualified for the final in third place at the Lusail Shooting Complex after registering a sequence of scores that read 103.1 104.8 104.6 105.0 105.6 103.7, giving him an aggregate of 626.8.

The rifleman, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara last year, started the final with a 8.9, but roared back with nine straight scores of 10 and above to sit in third place after the first competition stage.

He continued to shoot well in the ensuing attempts and gifted himself a medal and his country a quota on the opening day of the prestigious tournament.

Deepak is the second Indian shooter to earn an Olympic quota in the men's 10m air rifle event after Divyansh Singh Panwar, who secured it in April. China's Yukun Liu (250.5) claimed the gold medal after his incredible performance saw him shoot 10 and above in all the attempts. The silver went to Haonan Yu (249.1), also a Chinese. However, China already has earned two quotas in the same event, so they are not entitled to get any more. A maximum of two Olympic berths can be won by a country per event. Deepak was the most experienced of the three Indian shooters in the fray, the others being Kiran Ankush Jadhav and Yash Vardhan, who finished 14th and 30th respectively.

Divyansh and Sanjeev Rajput -- both have secured quotas in earlier events -- shot in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category.

India entered the tournament having secured nine Tokyo Olympics quotas in rifle and pistol events. China are currently leading the charts with 25 quotas and is followed by Korea and hosts Japan with 12 slots each, in terms of quotas won.

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