Jasmine Ser steals the show

Jasmine Ser Xian Wei qualified in the fourth place with a modest total of 414.9. However, she led throughout the final to defeat the favourite, Elaheh Ahmadi of Iran, who topped the qualifiers by 1.5 points.

Singapore's Jasmine Ser Xian Wei, who won the gold medal in the women's 10-metre air rifle in the Asian Air Gun Championship in New Delhi.   -  Sandeep Saxena

India's Ayonika Paul exults after winning the bronze medal in the women's 10-metre air rifle event. On the left is gold medal winner Jasmine Ser. Silver medal winner in the event, Elaheh Ahmadi is on the right.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Najmeh Khedmati of Iran who won the junior 10-metre rifle gold at the Asian Air Gun Championship in New Delhi. She beat compatriot Fatemeh Karamzadeh by 0.6 for the gold with a world record-equalling score of 208.9.   -  PTI

The gold medal winner in the junior 10-metre rifle, Najmeh Khedmati (centre) of Iran, flanked by compatriot Karamzadeh Fatemah (left, silver) and India's Shriyanka Sadangi (bronze).   -  PTI

Jasmine Ser Xian Wei of Singapore upstaged her Iranian rival and favourite, Elaheh Ahmadi, to win the gold medal in the women's 10-metre air rifle event, while Ayonika Paul salvaged some pride for the hosts by bagging the bronze in the same event, in the eighth Asian Air Gun Championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Monday.

It was Jasmine Ser’s maiden gold at the Asian level. The 25-year-old shooter had won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year.

After qualifying in the fourth place with a modest total of 414.9, the shooter from Singapore led throughout the final, beating Elaheh Ahmadi, who topped the qualifiers by 1.5 points. World Cup Final silver medallist Apurvi Chandela finished eighth. Defending champion Pooja Ghatkar was pushed to the fifth spot.

Elaheh, 33, won the World Cup gold in Gabala and with it the Olympic quota place. She then won the World Cup Final gold in Munich.

For World Cup medallist Ayonika Paul, who had former world record holder and Olympic finalist Suma Shirur as her coach, it was a welcome medal that would boost her confidence for the Asian Championship in Kuwait that offers the final set of Olympic quota places in November.

There was another Indian who did very well in the qualification, with the second best score of 417.6, but Elizabeth Susan Koshy, who has been close to getting the Olympic quota place in the 50-metre rifle 3-position event, was in the MQS section.

For Iran, coached by the former India coach, Laszlo Szucsak of Hungary, the gold was there for the picking, but in a judicious attempt, they opted not to put all their best shooters in one event. Thus, the Asian Games gold medallist Najmeh Khedmati, who has also won the Olympic quota place, was fielded in the junior event. She beat compatriot Fatemeh Karamzadeh by 0.6 for the gold with a world record-equalling score of 208.9.

However, the world record will not be ratified as the technical officials maintained that the junior event needed a minimum of 10 entries. The field had only seven entries. Interestingly, Najmeh herself has the world junior record of 207.9.

Shriyanka Sadangi did well to land the bronze medal, thereby preventing a clean sweep by the Iranians in the junior event, after Maryam Shafiel Pour had got past Mampi Das and Mandeep Popli.

There were only two countries in the fray, and thus India was not given a medal in the team event.

Local girl Aashi Rastogi, a student of Lady Shriram College, brought cheer to the hosts in the morning by clinching the youth gold medal, while Prachi Gadkari hung on to the bronze. Prachi actually pipped compatriot Gayatri Pawaskar by 0.1 to grab the eighth spot in the final, but shot a top class final until she lost her grip with a 9.3, which was her last shot.

Another talented Iranian, Seyadeh Roya Sobhkhiz, looked to have the match under control, but she slipped marginally with her last shots, while Aashi fired a 10.9 on her penultimate shot and followed that up with a 10.4 to win by 0.2 point.

The results:

Women - 10m air rifle: 1. Jasmine Ser Xian Wei (Singapore) 208.1 (414.9); 2. Elaheh Ahmadi (Iran) 206.6 (419.3); 3. Ayonika Paul 185.0 (413.6); 5. Pooja Ghatkar 143.3 (412.8); 8. Apurvi Chandela 81.3 (415.0). MQS: Elizabeth Susan Koshy 417.6.

Team: 1. Iran 1247.7; 2. India 1241.4; 3. Korea 1231.3.

Juniors: 1. Najmeh Khedmati (Iran) 208.9 (418.8); 2. Fatemeh Karamzadeh (Iran) 208.3 (414.5); 3. Shriyanka Sadani 185.4 (410.0); 5. Mandeep Popli 140.2 (411.9); 6. Mampi Das 119.4 (410.3). MQS: Nina Chandel 409.5; Meenakshi Sheoran 399.3.

Team: 1. Iran 1244.4; 2. India 1232.2.

Youth: 1. Aashi Rastogi 205.7 (411.2); 2. Seyadeh Roya Sobhkhiz (Iran) 205.5 (416.5); 3. Prachi Gadkari 183.6 (407.0); 9. Gayatri Pawaskar 406.9. MQS: Ayushi Podder 408.8; Gargi Sirsat 399.4.

Team: 1. Chinese Taipei 1235.1; 2. Iran 1228.3; 3. India 1225.1.

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