Abhishek Verma wins Gold and Tokyo Olympics Quota

Harpal Singh Bedi

Abhishek Verma in action during the final of the Men’s 10m Air Pistol in Beijing

New Delhi: Seasoned Abhishek Verma shot to glory and gold  as he won the 10m Air Pistol title and in the process helped India  book her fifth Tokyo Olympic quota place in Shooting at  the .

 ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol in Beijing  on Saturday.

Jaipur teenager Divyansh Panwar had won  the fourth quota place on Friday with a silver medal in the 10m Air Rifle, making it two quotas in two days for the country .

Like in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle, India have now exhausted their maximum two quota places in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event, with Saurabh Chaudhary winning the first quota place at the New Delhi World Cup in February this year.

For Abhishek this was his fourth big final in less than nine months and  a third international medal.

Abhishek was totally focused and it was evident from a score of 97 in his very first qualifying series. He shot a 100 in the fourth and finished with a 98 and 97 for a qualification round score of 585, incidentally his best in a short international career. This placed him in comfortable fourth place in the 97-strong field. Park Daehun of Korea topped the field with a 586.

The final eight consisted of such names as former Olympic Champion Pang Wei of China, World Championship silver medalist and world number 2 Artem Chernusov of Russia as well as experienced campaigners and multiple ISSF medalists like Oleh Omelchuk of Ukraine and Yusuf Dikec of Turkey among others.

Abhishek however led from start to finish to pull off what seemed to be a comfortable victory in the end. He ended the 24-shot final on a score of 242.7, giving the impression of never having being stretched.

Chernusov had to be satisfied with silver, his final score of 240.4, a clear 2.3 behind Abhishek’s. Korea’s Han Seungwoo won bronze, however the second Tokyo Olympics quota place went to Mongolia’s Enkhtaivan Davaakhuu who finished fifth as the third and fourth placed Koreans were not eligible for quota places in this event, having exhausted them in earlier competitions.

Two other Indians, Shahzar Rizvi and Arjun Singh Cheema shot scores of 576 and 571 to finish in 32ndand 54thplace respectively

In the day’s other events, Manu Bhaker was the best-placed Indian after the precision stage of the Women’s 25m Pistol qualifications round. She shot 291 to be four points behind the leader in 14thspot while Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat’s effort of 288 put her in 29thplace. Chinki Yadav shot 284 to lie in 57thposition.

All three Indians in the Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions (3P) event also comfortably sailed through their elimination round and will shoot the qualifying round on Sunday, which is also the concluding day of competitions.

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