The way multi-disciplinary sporting events are scheduled, shooting, invariably, becomes a harbinger of India’s performances – either a medal glut or a barren run.
The Indian women on Sunday set the stage for the former with a silver – India’s first at Hangzhou -- and a bronze to open the account on the opening day that India finished with five medals but no gold.
Ramita Jindal outgunned senior pro Mehuli Ghosh to finish third in the 10m air rifle with 230.1 points over her 22 shots. Mehuli finished 4th with 208.3 points, hours after the two combined, along with Ashi Chouksey, to get silver in the team event with a total of 1886 behind China’s 1896.6.
Competing in her first Asian Games and only in her second year on the senior circuit, Ramita was unflustered in the face of not just the challenge on the range but also the barrage of questions after. “I knew I would win a medal but I was more focused on the process, to win two medals on the opening day is special,” she said.
The 19-year old kept abreast of the leaders all through – she had just one score under 10, a 9.9 on the 16th – but was unable to get the better of the Chinese duo of World No. 1 Han Jiayu and 17-year old Yuting Huang, the latter winning gold with a new games record of 252.7 points, bettering compatriot Ruozhu Zhao’s score set five years back.
Having started only at 14 as a hobby, Ramita already has two gold at the Junior World Championships and is now targeting an Olympic quota at the upcoming Asian Championships in Changwon (Oct 22-Nov 2) even though her long-term target is Los Angeles in 2028.
But she insisted there was no rivalry with Mehuli, who won gold at the World Championships last month.
The latter, favourite for a medal here, admitted she was disappointed with the result but satisfied with her fight. “It wasn’t an easy day for me. Yes I could have done better in the final but I am happy with the fight I gave, it was a tough final and remained very close till the end.
“I did feel like I was very close to the medal midway through the final (she even won a shoot-off with Lee Eunseo for the 5th spot). The differences were very little and with every shot I felt it was not the end. I made a few disappointing shots which was unexpected even for me but I did all I needed to do,” she shrugged.
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