Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Commonwealth Games champion Tejaswini Sawant, finished fourth in the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions (3P) final in the 14th Asian Shooting Championship in Qatar on Saturday to clinch 12th quota place for India for the next year’s Olympic Games
Though Tejaswini missed out on an individual medal eventually, but en route to the final, the seasoned rifle shooter from Kolhapur, had already secured Olympic quota place by virtue of qualifying for the final, given three quota places were up for grabs in the event and six of eight finalists were not eligible to win them.
India also won nine more medals in all competitions through the day including three more gold medals.
The day however belonged to the valiant Tejaswini, currently ranked 95thin women’s 3P, who lifted her game when it mattered most.
She shot a tactically fast-paced 1171 in the grueling 120-shot qualification round across the three positions of Kneeling, Prone and Standing, to deliver a virtuoso performance.
The score was way above her previous best score in qualification in this new longer format introduced only in this current Olympic cycle, helping her finish fifth to ease into the eight-woman final.
It also helped secure India’s 12thTokyo quota place as six other finalists had either booked their individual quotas or their respective National Olympic Committees (NOC) had already exhausted their limit of two per event.
She ended the final with a score of 435.8, missing out narrowly on a medal as Shi Mengyao of China won gold with 457.9.
Mongolian Yesugen Oyunbat won silver while Shiori Hirata of Japan won bronze and the second available quota place as well. The third quota went to Thailand whose shooter placed ninth.
Tejaswini was not denied a medal on the day though, combining with her younger but higher-ranked compatriots to lead the way to a team bronze in women’s 3P. Kajal Saini who finished a creditable 13thwith a score of 1167 and N. Gaayathri who also ended a fine 16thwith 1165, were the other two making up the trio.
India also continued its pursuit of an Olympic quota in Shotgun with the Men’s Skeet team well in contention after day one of qualification on Saturday. Joint world record holder Angad Bajwa missed one bird out of 75 while Olympian Mairaj Ahmed Khan missed two and Smit Singh missed three, to be well in contention.
The Skeet finals will follow two more rounds of 25 targets each in qualification on Sunday, day six of competitions.
Darshna Rahore was the best Indian in Women’s Skeet, her score of 69 placing her 12th, while Ganemat Shekhon shot 66 to lie 17thand Saniya Sheikh 65, to be in 18thposition.
Other Indian medal winners
25m Centre Fire Pistol Men-Gurpreet Singh won individual silver with a score of 586. Team of Gurpreet, Yogesh Singh and Adarsh Singh won bronze with a combined score of 1730
25m Sports Pistol Junior Men– Team of Dilshaan Kelley, Rajkanwar Sandhu and Miteshkumar Gohil won silverwith a combined score of 1730
10m Air Pistol Youth Women– Aadhya Tayal (score 567), Shikha Narwal (567) and Rhythm Sangwan (562) combined for team gold with a score of 1696. Aadhya and Shikha also won individual gold and silver respectively with scores of 238.9 and 237.8 in the finals
10m Air Rifle Youth Women– Jasmine Kaur (score 624.3), Zeena Khitta (623.9) and Nupoor Hagawane (620.3) combined for team bronze (1868.5). Jasmine also won individual gold (248.7)