Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Teenage duo of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary clinched the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team title as India, claimed both the Mixed Team titles to records its most comprehensive ISSF World Cup stage performance in Munich, Germany, on Thursday.
India finished with five- gold and a silver medal in this third world cup stage event. They won golds through Apurvi Chandela (10m Air Rifle Women), Rahi Sarnobat (25m Pistol Women) and Saurabh Chaudhary (10m Air Pistol Men) besides the Mixed Team titles won on the last day.
Second placed China bagged nine medals with two gold, two silver and five bronze medals.
In the Mixed Air Rifle, it was an all India gold medal match as Apurvi Chandela and Deepak Kumar landed India its lone silver, going down to the winners by a score of 16-2.
The pair of Anjum Moudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar first won the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team gold even as the teenage pair of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary backed them up with the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team title,
Manu and Saurabh in the Air Pistol finals had it a bit tougher against the experienced Ukranian pair of Olena Kostevych and Oleh Omelchuk, closing it down professionally in the end by a 17-9 margin.
Manu and Saurabh made their intentions clear from round one itself topping the 76-team field with a score of 586 and then doing an encore in round two with an even better 591. World record holder Saurabh shot a 100 in his last series.
In the gold medal match, against a team, which had a former Olympic champion in Olena, Manu and Saurabh kept ahead of the game from the onset, maintaining a four-point gap throughout. There was a moment when the Ukranians picked up three out six points for a semblance of a fight back, but solid shooting by the young Indian pair, meant they had no chance
The event format consisted of a first qualification round of three series of 20-shots each with each team member allocated 10-shots per series. The top eight teams would then move to a second qualification round and have another round in the same format.
The top two teams would then qualify for the gold medal match while the third and fourth best teams would compete for the bronze medal.
In the match-ups, each member would get a single shot and the higher aggregate score was allotted two points. This series would continue and the first to 16-points was declared the winner.
In the gold medal match Anjum and Divyansh were dominant with Apurvi and Deepak winning just the first two-shot series.
Anjum and Divyansh shot 629.1 in round one of their relay to qualify as the fourth team, 0.1 points ahead of Apurvi and Deepak, who made it through in fifth having stood second in their individual relay earlier.
The gold medalists again bettered their countrymen in round two, shooting a combined 631.9 to top the eight-team standings. Apurvi and Deepak followed them with an effort of 630.2, setting up an all India gold medal match-up.
The Belarussian pair of Maria Martynova and Ilia Charheika won a thrilling bronze medal match against the Austrian pair of Olivia Hofmann and Alexander Schmirl 16-14. The Belarussians were down 0-10 at one stage before staging a remarkable comeback.