Indians bag third place on the podium in 25m air pistol

Incheon :  The shooting range once again provided an early medal for the Indian contingent as the women’s pistol trio of Rahi Sarnobat, Anisa Sayyed and Heena Sidhu shot down a bronze in the 25m range on day three of the competitions on Monday.

The Indian trio tallied 1729 points, a whopping 18 adrift of silver medal winners China and two more behind gold medallists and hosts South Korea, to clinch the fourth medal from the pistol and rifle shooting range.

It was also the third bronze for the country from this venue. The only metal of any other colour, notably gold, has come through the efforts of army man Jitu Rai in the 50m pistol event.

Anisa, in the second lot of shooters who went through the precision and rapid fire parts of the competition provided the spark to fetch the bronze with a superb tally of 294 out of 300.

Her precision round got her only 283 for an overall aggregate of 577.

The other Indian expert in this rapid fire round, Rahi Sarnobat, fired 289 in precision and two more in the second stage rapid fire round to aggregate 580 points and also qualify for the eight-woman individual final with the eighth best score in the preliminaries.

Heena Sidhu, whose pet event is the 10m air pistol in which the shooters take their own time while aiming at the target and then fire, had an expected splendid first round in which she recorded 291. But her inexperience in rapid fire showed as she got only 281 for an overall tally of 572.

“There was a lot of pressure as we knew that Rahi an me had to do well in rapid fire as Heena is new to this format,” said Anisa.

“It is my first Asian Games medal and I am very happy because otherwise people would have said that we did not deliver despite being rapid fire experts,” she added.

But elsewhere there was disappointment for the country when rifle shooter Ayonika Paul made the 10m finals but then got eliminated after the 12th shot to finish seventh with 101.9.

Her sequence of scores in the finals was 10.2, 10.2, 10.4, 9.9, 10.3, 104, 9.8, 10.5, 9.7, 10.5.

She had tallied 417.7 in the preliminaries which was the second highest score of that stage but not considered for the finals in which all the qualifiers start from scratch.

Aonika’s score was marginally lower than 2012 London Olympic champion Yu Siling’s of China, but she could not reproduce the same form in the final where it becomes a virtual precision round, according to Indian shooting team’s mental trainer Vaibav Agashe.

“She is very strong mentally, wants to take pressure all the time. It’s not a question of her not being able to take pressure, but she is a fast shooter while the finals call for the waiting game,” said Agashe about the young Mumbai shooter who fetched a silver medal in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

—PTI

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