New Delhi: Rahi Sarnobat Monday booked an Olympic quota place for India with a gold in women’s 25m pistol event but it was teenager Saurabh Chaudhary who stole the limelight by setting a new world record en route to a yellow metal at the season’s third ISSF World Cup in Munich. Saurabh bagged his second World Cup gold of the year in men’s 10m Air Pistol event, shattering both the senior and junior world records in the process. India now top the Munich World Cup medals tally with three gold. China are second with one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
Asian Games champion Rahi clinched her career’s second World Cup gold, which helped India win its sixth quota place in shooting for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In the women’s final, another Indian in the fray, Manu Bhaker had a better start than Rahi, having five out of five hits in the first of 10 series of five shots each. Rahi started with three hits. After the sixth series, Manu, Rahi and Olena Kostevych of Ukraine were jointly tied at the top with a score of 21. Manu had an unfortunate double weapon malfunction in the seventh series and that was followed by shock elimination in the fifth place.
Rahi, however, kept getting stronger, scoring perfect 5s in the 8th and 9th series to finish with 37 points. Olena bagged silver with 36 and Bulgarian Antoaneta Boneva won the second available quota place by winning the bronze with a score of 26. Both Rahi and Manu had shot solid rapid-fire rounds in the two-day qualifying round. Rahi shot 292 to follow-up on her Sunday’s precision round score of 294 for a total of 586, which saw her qualify for the six-woman final in fourth place. Manu did even better, shooting a round of 296 for a total of 585, placing her fifth in the 105-strong field.
Chinki Yadav shot 571 to end 56th. Earlier, Saurabh had set the ball rolling for India as he not only won the yellow metal but also shattered both senior and junior world records with a score of 246.3. Incidentally, he held both the existing records. Saurabh’s previous senior world record shot at Delhi was 245 and the junior world record was at 245.5. Silver medallist Russian Artem Chernousov, a world championship silver medallist last year, though had lesser scores in the 9s in the 24-shot final than the Indian. Saurabh beat him by close to three points in the eventual standings. He finished with a superb 246.3 to Artem’s 243.8. Former Olympic champion Pang Wei of China shot 220.7 to win the bronze.
Shahzar Rizvi, the second Indian in the final, finished fifth with a score of 177.6. In the men’s 10m Air Pistol qualifiers, Saurabh shot 586 to be placed second among the final eight to qualify from the 162-strong field. Teammate Rizvi also finished strong, his final 10-shot round yielding a perfect 100 for a total of 583, which placed him in fifth position. The third Indian in the fray, Abhishek Verma shot 577 to end in 32nd in the final standings. In the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions event, China’s Zhao Zhonghao won gold while India’s Chain Singh was placed 41st with a qualifying round score of 1171 while Parul Kumar shot 1167 to finish in 52nd spot.