Apurvi Chandela breaks world record, shoots gold at ISSF World Cup

Apurvi finished fourth in the qualification round to make the final, but registered impressive scores of 10.5 or above in her last 10 shots in the final to claim the gold with a world record score of 252.9.

Apurvi Chandela (C) poses with her gold medal and is flanked by China's Ruozhu Zhao and Hong Xu, who claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Apurvi Chandela thrived on the explosive atmosphere, which she created with her spectacular scores, as she broke the world record to capture the gold medal in women's 10m air rifle event in the ISSF Shooting World Cup at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

Having won the Olympic quota place with a fourth place finish in the World Championship last year, when Anjum Moudgil bagged the quota with the silver medal, Apurvi's sole target was to get on the podium.

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"The atmosphere motivated me, and helped me push more,’’ said Apurvi, as she acknowledged the positive role of the packed stands in the final hall, which roared in applause after each of her shots.

After a hesitant start, when she was seventh after the first five shots, she jumped ahead at the half way stage in the 24-shot final.

Apurvi Chandela is all smiles after bagging the hold medal on Saturday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan


Shooting 10.5 or better in her last 11 shots in the final, Apurvi beat Chinese Zhao Ruozhu, who had topped qualification with 634.0, a world record, by 1.1 point for the gold.

This was much in contrast to the manner she had stumbled in the last stage of qualification with scores of 9.7, 10.6 and 10.0 that saw her total slip to 629.3, the fourth best score among 101 shooters.

"The qualification score was not bad, but I will try to get better," she said.

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Apurvi, who had competed in Rio Olympics, said being chased by a bunch of high quality shooters had helped her improve standard and stay on course to retain her Olympic quota and compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The world record and the gold medal, which will fetch her merit points for the Olympic selection, were already sufficient proof of her motivation. "I am looking forward to it. Hopefully, I will be there," Apurvi told the the television audience immediately after the medal ceremony.

It was the World Cup medal for the 26-year-old Apurvi, who had won the bronze in Changwon in 2015 in the old format. She had also won the silver in the World Cup Final that year. She had won the gold in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, apart from the bronze in Gold Coast last year, and the Asian Games mixed bronze with Ravi Kumar in Palembang.

Anjum Moudgil shot 628.0 and missed the final by 0.1 point, while Elavenil Valarivan was not her best, as she placed 30th with 625.3. Shooting in the MQS section, Mehuli Ghosh had the second best score with 631.0.

- Manu impresses -

Meanwhile, at the half way stage in the women’s 25-metre sports pistol, Manu Bhaker was in superlative form as she notched up 296 out of 300, with 98, 99 and 99 on the three cards. Asian Games gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat had shot 287, and so did Olympian Annu Raj Singh in the MQS. The third member of the Indian team, Chinki Yadav had 288.

The second half with the rapid fire section will be held on Sunday, followed by the final for the top eight.

In men’s 50-metre rifle 3-position event in which Olympian Chain Singh missed the cut with a total of 1145, Sanjeev Rajput (1173) and Parul Kumar (1149) made it to qualification from the elimination rounds.


The results

10m air rifle
Women: 1. Apurvi Chandela 252.9 WR (629.3); 2. Zhao Ruozhu (Chn) 251.8 (634.0 WR); 3. Xu Hong (Chn) 230.4 (628.1); 12. Anjum Moudgil 628.0; x30. Elavenil Valarivan 625.3. MQS: Mehuli Ghosh 631.0; Meghana Sajjanar 625.3.

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