Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Promising young shooters from Madhya Pradesh Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Chinki Yadav won their first ISSF World Cup stage medals, by clinching gold in the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions (3P) and Women’s 25M Pistol event respectively, at New Delhi’s Dr. Karni Singh Shooting range on Wednesday 24 March 2021.
India leads the medals tally with nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals for a total of 19 medals so far. The USA lie second with three gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
20-year old Aishwary set the ball rolling in the Men’s 3P, beating Air Rifle number one Istvan Peni of Hungary 462.5 to 461.6 in a nerve wrecking final.
In the women section Chinki Yadav led an Indian clean sweep in the 25M Pistol. In the final Chinki and her senior compatriot Rahi Sarnobat, were tied at 32-hits out of 50. The match went into a shoot-off to end the deadlock , where the youngster prevailed 4-3. Both had earlier
Manu Bhaker won bronze in the event, when she was eliminated after the ninth and penultimate five-shot series. At that stage, she had 28 hits out of 45.
In Men’s 3P, shooting against seasoned shooters as double Olympian Sanjeev Rajput, former Prone World Champion Steffen Olsen of Denmark and multiple world cup medallist and world number 15 Jan Lochbihler of Switzerland, besides Hungarian Rifle ace Peni, young Aishwary started strong and led the field after the first 15 Kneeling position shots.
At the end of the second Prone position however, Olsen cashed in on a couple of low-scoring shots by Tomar and took the lead with Peni right on the Indian’s shoulder in third.
The youngster from the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy then staged a brilliant comeback in the final Standing position, shooting a high 52.2 in the final series before the eliminations (40-shots), to lead Peni, who had now risen to second, by 1.6 points.
Going into the final 45thshot, Peni had reduced the gap to 0.9, but Aishwary held his nerve admirably to shoot a 10.3, the same as Peni, to secure gold.
Earlier in the Women’s 25M Pistol, Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat topped the qualification round with a score of 581, to lead all three participating Indians into the final. Chinki was second with 580, while Manu was fourth with 576.
The trio did not exactly begin the final with a bang, but with every successive five-shot series, they slowly climbed up . By the time Singapore’s Teh Xiu Hong became the first to be eliminated after 20-shots, Chinki was leading with 14 hits, Manu was second with 13 while Rahi was in fourth place with 12 hits to her name.
Latvian Agate Rasmane, then briefly took the lead after the fifth series, but Chinki and Manu were back at 1-2 after the sixth and by the time the seventh series ended it was all India at the top, but this time Rahi had displaced Manu in second position.
The Latvian got eliminated in fourth place after the eighth series with Chinki leading with 27 hits, Rahi second with 25 and Manu third with 24 hits. In the ninth series, both Rahi and Manu had four hits, while Chinki had three, which meant that Manu had to settle for bronze.
In the final 10thseries, Chinki had two hits while Rahi got three to take the match into a shoot-off, where Chinki emerged triumphant.
The third- gold of the day was claimed by Slovenia’s world number seven Ziva Dvorska in Women’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions . She shot 457.1 to beat Nina Christen (ranked four) of Switzerland by two points. Poland’s Aneta Stankiewicz won bronze in the event.