Akhil Sheoran wins gold in shooting World Cup

Sheoran became the fourth young Indian shooter to win a medal on ISSF World Cup debut.

(From left) silver medallist Bernhard Pickl of Austria, champion Akhil Sheoran, and Istvan Peni of Hungary. Photo: ISSF

Akhil Sheoran put the icing on the cake as he clinched the men’s 50-metre rifle 3-position gold in the shooting World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The 22-year-old Akhil won by a handsome margin of 3.6 point over Bernhard Pickl of Austria after having qualified in the fourth place with 1174.

It was the fourth gold for India, after Manu Bhaker, Shahzar Rizvi and Om Prakash Mitharval had swept the air pistol gold medals earlier.

India continued to stay on top of the medals table with nine medals in all, four more than China, US and France, while eight countries shared the 10 other gold medals.

Following the fine performance of Anjum Moudgil who won the women’s 3-position silver, it was further confirmation of the good foundation laid by the junior chief coach for rifle, Olympian Deepali Deshpande.

Akhil had hinted his potential over the last few years, and had strengthened the belief by winning the air rifle gold in the World University Championship in Poland in 2016.

Sanjeev Rajput missed a medal narrowly and placed fourth, after having shot 1176 in qualification. The third Indian shooter Swapnil Kusale also made the final with 1168 and placed sixth.

In women’s 25-metre sports pistol, Manu Bhaker made the final with 581, but eventually settled for the fifth place. The 16-year-old Manu had made a sensational start to her international career among the women, by winning the air pistol gold and the mixed air pistol team gold with Om Prakash Mitharval.

Olympian Annu Raj Singh shot 575 and missed the final by two points.

In women’s skeet, Rashmmi Rathore (105), Maheshwari Chauhan (103) and Saniya Sheikh (101) placed 19th, 22nd and 23rd respectively.

In men’s skeet, Smit Singh shot 48 following rounds of 25 and 23 to be one point the leaders after two rounds. Sheeraz Sheikh (45), Angad Vir

Singh Bajwa (42) had conceded some ground with three more rounds to go before the final.

The results

Men:

50m rifle 3-position: 1. Akhil Sheoran 455.6 (1174); 2. Bernhard Pickl (Aut) 452.0 (1173); 3. Istvan Peni (Hun) 442.3 (1178); 4. Sanjeev Rajput 430.9 (1176); 6. Swapnil Kusale 407.2 (1168).

Women:

25m sports pistol: 1. Anna Korakaki (Gre) 29 (582); 2. Doreen Vennekamp (GEr) 27 (577); 3. Mathilde Lamolle (Fra) 24 (580); 5. Manu Bahker 19 (581);10. Annu Raj Singh 575.

Skeet: 1. Kimberly Rhode (US) 56 (EWR) 122 (WR); 2. Caitlin Connor (US) 52 (115); 3. Amber Hill (GBR) 42 (116); 19. Rashmmi Rathore 105; 22. Maheshwari Chauhan 103; 23. Saniya Sheikh 101.