C’wealth C’ship: Sidhu wins 10m air pistol gold

With a combined score of 626.2, Heena Sidhu claims top spot; Deepak Kumar wins bronze in 10m air rifle.

Silver medallist Elena Galiabovitch of Australia, champion Heena Sidhu and Kristy Gillman of Australia in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Brisbane on Tuesday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Heena Sidhu gave India a golden start in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Brisbane, with a dominant performance in women’s air pistol, on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old dentist who has competed in the last two Olympics, Heena beat Elena Galiabovitch of Australia by 2.3 points to clinch the gold after having topped qualification with an impressive score of 386, nine more than the Aussie.

Read: India looks to dominate Commonwealth Shooting Championship

Heena, who had won three gold medals in mixed air pistol global competition this season with Jitu Rai, including the World Cup Final last week in the Capital, did have a strong fight from Galiabovitch in the final. The Ausssie reduced the gap to 0.5 point before the last four shots, but Heena pulled through nicely in the climax to assert her class.

After shooting the 9s and the odd 8 that eroded her lead, Heena literally sealed the show with a perfect 10.9 penultimate shot.

“I am happy that whatever we have been trying in training is working well in competition. With Ronak devising effective ways, we are progressing well towards Tokyo. The idea is to improve with every competition. I am looking forward to the 25-metre event next’’, said Heena, who had a series of 95, 98, 97, 96 in qualification. She is married to Ronak Pandit who doubles up as her coach.

Hosts Australia bagged both the silver and bronze medals ahead of the other two Indians Harveen Srao and P. Shri Nivetha.

India looked good for another gold, but qualification toppers Gagan Narang (626.2) and Ravi Kumar (626.0) failed to reproduce a similar fare in the final. However, Deepak Kumar climbed to the bronze medal behind Alex Hoberg and Jack Rossiter of Australia.

The two Aussies had placed sixth and seventh during qualification and looked to have conserved their energy for the final, like Deepak who had placed fifth.

Though he missed a medal and placed fourth, it was a welcome return to a good score in air rifle for the seasoned Gagan who shot a series of 103.7, 104.1, 105.8, 104.9, 103.5, 104.2 which incidentally was a championship record.

In women’s skeet, national champion Rashmmi Rathore made the final with a score of 65, but finished sixth. Amber Gill of Britain, who shot one point better than Rashmmi in qualification went on to clinch the gold ahead of Chloe Tipple of New Zealand and Aislin Jones of Australia.

Maheshwari Chauhan (64) and Saniya Sheikh (62) finished seventh and ninth in a field of ten shooters.

Results:

Men:

10m air rifle: 1. Alex Hoberg (Aus) 247.6 (619.7); 2. Jack rossiter (Aus) 245.5 (613.2); 3. Deepak Kumar 224.2 (620.3); 4. Gagan Narang 203.0 (626.2); 5. Ravi Kumar 182.2 (626.0).

Women:

10m air pistol: 1. Heena Sidhu 240.8 (386); 2. Elena Galiabovitch (Aus) 238.2 (377); 3. Kristy Gillman (Aus) 213.7 (374); 4. Harveen Srao 194.1 (368); 5. P. Shri Nivetha 174.5 (374).