Ace shooter Pooja Ghatkar claimed a bronze in the women’s 10m air rifle event to open India’s medal count at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range here on Friday.
This was the first World Cup medal for 27-year-old Pooja, who scored a total of 228.8 to finish third.
Earlier in the day, she had shot 418, her best World Cup qualifying score till date, to finish second behind eventual gold medallist from China, World No.11 Mengyao Shi, who shot 418.6 to finish on top of the qualification charts.
In the eight woman 24-shot final, which had names like former Olympic bronze medallist Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia and reigning Asian Games Gold medallist Najmeh Khidmati among others, Pooja started confidently and remained among the top three throughout.
At a point when it looked like the third Chinese shooter Mingyang Wu would catch up with her, a confident 10.8 in the 19th shot and a 10.7 in the 21st ensured India got on the medal table on the opening day of the competition itself.
While Mengyao shot a final score of 252.1 to win gold, her compatriot Lijie Dong fired a 248.9 to clinch the silver medal.
China also won the men’s 10M Air Rifle gold, with Buhan Song causing an upset win over Hungary’s Peter Sidi, the current World No.4 and a former World Champion and multiple World Cup Gold medallist.
Buhan shot 249.5 to Sidi’s 249.1 in the final which went down to the wire where Japan’s Atsushi Simada settled for the bronze.
India’s Deepak Kumar and Ravi Kumar also made the eight-man final but could only finish fifth and eighth, respectively. However, they did well to reach their first ever World Cup final. Deepak finished fourth in qualifying with a good score of 625.8 and Ravi shot 624 to qualify for the finals in sixth place.
In the other medal event of the day, the women’s Trap, Australia’s Penny Smith won the gold shooting 40 in the final to leave Italy’s Jessica Rossi, who shot 38, content with a silver medal.
Finland’s Veromma Mo won the bronze shooting 27 in the Finals. Among the Indian participants in the women’s Trap, Rajeshwari Kumar finished 17th in qualifying with a score of 64, while Seema Tomar shot 60 to finish 22nd. Manish Keer, the third Indian in the fray finished 29th shooting a score of 51.
The men’s Rapid Fire Pistol Stage 1 of qualification also ended on Friday with India’s Neeraj Kumar finishing fifth with a score of 290. China’s Zhiming Lu topped the first Precision stage with a score of 295.
Olympian Gurpreet Singh lay in 12th position with a score of 285 and the third Indian Harpreet Singh will go into the Rapid Fire stage in 17th position with a score of 281. Only the top six qualify for the final.
In the first day of the men’s Trap qualifiers, India’s Zoravar Singh Sandhu shot 70 to lie in sixth position. Spain’s former world champion and World No.9, Alberto Fernandez led the field with a perfect score of 75, in an event, which also has the reigning Olympic Champion, Josip Glasnovic of Croatia also participating.