Elavenil shoots to glory and gold in Rio World Cup

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Talented young shooter Elavenil Valarivan  shot to glory and gold as she clinched the Women’s 10m Air Rifle title, her first senior world cup gold in her debut senior year in the fourth and final ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol stage in  Rio de Janeiro on Thursday,

A Gun For Glory prodigy, the gold medal was a “double delight” for the 20-year-old Elavenil and mentor Gagan Narang, as Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation was conferred with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Purotsahan Puraskar by the President of India in the capital, on the same day.

Compatriot and world championship silver medalist Anjum Moudgil, also reached her third world cup final of the year, but finished fifth and missed  out on a medal.

Elavenil helped India extend their newly found dominance in the event with an effort of 251.7 in the finals, leaving behind Seonaid Mcintosh of Britain who won silver with an effort of 250.6.

The youngster from Gujarat had earlier topped her senior Anjum in qualification, returning a quality 629.4 to the world number two’s 629.1 as they took the fourth and fifth spots through to the eight-woman final.

Chinese Taipei’s Ying-Shin Lin won bronze as well as one of the two Tokyo 2020 quota places on offer. The second quota was won by Iran. India has now won three out of the four world cup gold medals in the Women’s 10m Air this year.

World number one and finals world record holder Apurvi Chandela missed out by a whisker, finishing 11thon a score of 627.7. In fact, such has been India’s riches in the event that Mehuli Ghosh, shooting in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section shot a 629.1, which would have earned her a final spot as well.

Anjum lead the finals field after the first five shots as Seonaid began as she finished and the eight finalists bunched closely at the top.

The Briton then attempted to pull ahead after 10 shots as Anjum had a poor second series to go down to fifth by the 12th shot.                                                             

However, Elavenil Valarivan was shooting brilliantly by now had caught up to lead ahead of Seonaid, as the American Mary Tucker became first to be eliminated in 8th place after the 12th.

The Korean Kim, then went out in seventh after the 14th shot at which stage there were three athletes, including Elavenil and Seonaid, who were jointly in the lead with a score of 147.1. Anjum maintained fourth place.

The women were now going ballistic with high 10s flowing from their rifle barrels and none ceding an inch.

Anjum missed out in fifth place as in a fight with Romania’s Laura-Georgeta Coman and with 0.1 separating them, she shot a 10.1 to Coman’s 10.4 to go out in fifth.

Meanwhile Elavenil was dishing out a master-class with a series of high 10s, which saw her 1.4 in the lead with four shots of the 24-shot final to go. 

Seonaid and Elavenil battled till the end, but it was the Indian who prevailed for a milestone win.

 “I am really thrilled with this achievement and want to thank my mentor Gagan sir, my coach Neha ma’am & my mental trainer Kirtika ma’am who have trained me so well and without their correct guidance, this would not have been possible. “she  said after the win.

“Elavenil has made a beautiful transition from the junior level to the senior. We have worked very closely on her all these years and her success marks a special day for all of us at Gun For Glory. She is a smart shooter and has the capability to perform consistently,” said Gagan on his prodigy.

In the Women’s 25m Pistol, Annu Raj Singh, making a comeback to the India squad shot a solid 292 in the precision stage to set herself in 12thspot ahead of the Rapid Fire round on Thursday, preceding the final. Compatriot Chinky Yadav shot 290 to lie in 17thplace while Abhidnya Ashok Patil shot 286 to be further back in 43rdspot.

In the Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions competition, there was a qualification world record in the first elimination round itself as Austria’s Jan Lochbihler shot 1188 to set the new mark.

Sanjeev Rajput shot 1170 in the first elimination round to sail through with a 14thspot finish. He will now shoot the qualifying round on Thursday morning, for a shot in the finals. So will Parul Kumar who finished 10thin his elimination round with a score of 1169. Chain Singh shot 1163 in the same round as Sanjeev to end in 27thposition.

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Pranav, Tasnim Mir enter main draw of Yonex Sunrise India Jr International Grand Prix

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Pune,  29  August:  Promising star Pranav Rao Gandham won a couple of rounds in qualifying to secure his place in the main draw of Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix  at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex, here today.

Gandham made a strong start to the qualifiers to upset the fourth seed Tukum Laa 21-11, 21-13. He next fought hard to edge Anirudh Janardhanan 21-6, 12-21, 21-17 on his way to the main draw where he will meet Thailand’s Puritat Arree.

The Telegana boy Gandham had come to this tournament with a rich vein of form following his twin title wins at the ranking tournaments in Guwahati and Imphal.

A few days after losing a nail-biting final, Gujarat’s Tasnim Mir reversed the result when she sent last week’s Bangalore All India Junior Ranking Tournament winner and fourth seed Trisha Hegde packing with a gritty 19-21, 21-11, 21-7 win. In the final round, she made short work of Akshaya Arumugam 21-13, 21-15 to set up a showdown with former U-15 Asian Championships gold medallist Samiya Imad Farooqui.

While six Indians made it to the main draw in boys’ singles out of a possible eight, all the eight qualifiers in the girls’ singles section were Indians. Likhita Srivastava was another local girl who impressed with a fine 21-18, 21-11 upset victory over fifth seed Khor Jing Wen.

Assam boy Ayan Rashid blew away the fifth seed Akash Thakur 21-11, 21-9 to start his campaign but fell to Malaysia’s Ken Yon Ong 21-11, 21-12 in the final round. Promising talent Ayush Raj Gupta showed his resilience and fighting spirit in his 24-22, 14-21, 21-11 win over the sixth seed Shivam Kumar Mishra to qualify.

The four-day tournament, held in memory of Sushant Chipalkatti, is the only Grand Prix event to be played in India, will see India’s Junior World No. 9 Varun Kapur and Thailand’s Junior World No. 6 Benyapa Aimsaard heading the draws in the boys’ singles and girls’ singles sections respectively.

With a handsome prize money of $15000 and Yonex Sunrise as the title sponsor, it will feature 249 participants from 8 countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal and an encouraging a number of Indian promise.

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Golf: Diksha Dagar emerges second round leader in 13th Leg of Hero WPGT

Harpal Singh Bedi

Diksha Dagar in action at DLF

Gurugram: Diksha Dagar fired  four birdies while dropping a stroke in  the back nine to take  the lead as overnight leader Tvesa Malik had a poor  second round of the 13th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Gary Player layout in the DLF Golf & Country Club here on Thursday..

Even as Diksha holds a two-shot lead over Tvesa, the latter is another three shots ahead of Gursimar Badwal (73) and Gaurika Bishnoi (74), who are Tied-third.

Tvesa Malik taking tee shot during second round

Diksha, who flew in straight from Europe for the event, bettered her first round 73 with a fine four-under 68 that took her total to three-under 141. Tvesa on the other hand fell to one-under 143 as she carded three-over 75, which had just one birdie and four bogeys. As of now only Diksha and Tvesa have carded under par totals. 

That put Diksha is a strong position going into the final round. Her  only win on the Hero WPG Tour has come as an amateur in the last event of the 2017 season. 

The current season of 2019 is her rookie season as a pro, and Diksha has already won the South African Women’s Open on the Ladies European Tour.

Gursimar had three birdies on the front nine against one bogey, while she had three bogeys on the back nine for a total of 73, the same as the first day.

Gaurika had two birdies against four bogeys, three of which were on the front nine.

Ridhima has been having a quiet run after her win in the ninth leg, which was her third win of the season. Since then she has had a best finish of Tied-seventh, ans so will be looking at a good finish here.

Vani Kapoor (76) and Gurjot Badwal (77) are Tied-seventh, while Siddhi Kapoor (79) and Gauri Karhade (82) are Tied-ninth.Sneha Sharan is the leading amateur and Tied-11th alongside Amandeep Drall.

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Golf: Tvesa fires four-under 68 to lead on the opening day of 13th Leg of Hero WPGT

Harpal Singh Bedi

Gurugram: Title contender  Tvesa Malik fired  four-under 68  to take a four-shot lead over Gaurika Bishnoi and Gurjot Badwal,  as she emerged opening round leader  in the 13th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Wednesday.

Playing at Gary Player’s Black Knight course at the DLF Golf and Country Club, Tvesa started the day with 10 pars in a row, before coming up with three successive birdies. She dropped a shot on Par-5 15th, but quickly regrouped herself to close birdie-birdie for a 68.

Gaurika started with four steady pars, before she dropped a double bogey on Par-3 fifth and another bogey on sixth. Birdies on ninth and 10th,followed by six pars and another birdie on 17th, and  she ended at 72.

Gurjot Badwal, younger sister of Gursimar Badwal, had three birdies, one on front nine and two on back nine, but dropped three bogeys on back nine to end up with par 72,.

It was a perfect start for Tvesa’s preparations for next month’s marquee event, the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the Ladies European Tour at the same course. Last year Tvesa finished Tied-13th alongside Gaurika Bishnoi, who is lying second, but overall is leading the Hero WPGT Order of Merit.

Diksha Dagar and Vani Kapoor, alongwith last week’s winner Gauri Karhade, were among the big group of five golfers at Tied-fourth with a round of 73 each. The others in the group were Neha Tripathi and Gursimar Badwal.

Diksha had two birdies against one bogey, while Vani had three birdies against four bogeys. Three of her bogeys came in the last six holes.

Neha Tripathi started birdie-birdie and then had a roller-coaster of a round with a total of five birdies against two double bogeys and two bogeys.

Amateur Khushi Hooda, Siddhi Kapoor and the only three-time winner this season Ridhima Dilawari, are Tied-ninth at 76 each.

This is the last event before the Hero Women’s Indian Open scheduled for the first week of October.