India begins shooting World Championship with 2 junior gold, seniors miss finals

Arjun Singh Cheema won the individual junior men’s 50m pistol gold and also led the team to gold in the event.

North Korea's Ri Un Kyong (L) and Ryong Song Kang (R) compete in the 10m air rifle mixed team shooting event.   -  AFP

Asian Games bronze medallists in mixed air rifle, Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar shot 836.6 and missed a final berth by 0.4 point in the 52nd World Shooting Championship in Changwon, Korea, on Sunday.

The other Indian pair of Mehuli Ghosh and Deepak Kumar had a total of 831.6 for the 25th spot in a field of 70 teams.

The world record holders Zhao Ruozhu and Yang Haoran of China asserted their class by winning the event ahead of another Chinese pair, after having topped qualification with 840.5.

By pushing Russia, Romania and Germany to the third to fifth spots in the final, the Chinese swept both the Olympic quota places in the event.

In mixed air pistol, Heena Sidhu and Shahzar Rizvi shot 768 and missed the final by three points. The other Indian pair of Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma had a total of 767 for the 12th spot in a field of 62 teams.

A shuffle in the combination could have at least fetched a final berth for the Indian team, as Shahzar Rizvi had 388 and Manu Bhaker had 386. In fact, Manu had shot a world record of 778 in partnership with Om Prakash Mitharval, on way to the gold, at the same venue during the World Cup in April.

The strict norms meant the No.1 man and woman in the selection ranking list making a team, and the No.2s forming the second team.

Russia and China placed first and second in the event to sweep the Olympic quota places, ahead of the third placed Ukraine which had topped qualification with 775.

The Indian camp had the consolation of the junior medals, as Arjun Singh Cheema won the free pistol gold with 559, and steered the team to the gold along with Gaurav Rana, who won the individual bronze, and Anmol Jain.

India was on top of the medals table with those two gold and a bronze, ahead of China and Russia which had a gold medal each apart from other medals.

In men’s trap, Asian Games silver medallist Lakshay Sheoran and former World Champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu had shot an identical 72 out of 75 from the first three rounds to be placed 17th and 18th in a field of 127 shooters. Zoravar Singh Sandhu had shot 70.

Former Olympic and World Champion in double trap, Walton Eller of the US led with a perfect 75. There were three on 74, and nine on 73. The shooters will go through two more rounds on Monday, followed by the final for the top-six.

In junior women’s trap, Manisha Keer had shot 69 to be in the sixth place after three rounds, while Kirti Gupta (66) and Soumya Gupta (62) were 14th and 19th in a field of 34. Maria Lucia Palmitessa of Italy led with 72, and was followed by three on 71.

The results:

Mixed air rifle: 1. China-2 (Zhao Ruozhu, Yang Haoran) 500.9 (840.5); 2. China (Wu Mingyang, Song Buhan) 500.6 (836.5); 3. Russia (Anastasia Galashina, Vladimir Maslennikov) 434.2 (836.0); 7. India (Apurvi Chandela, Ravi Kumar) 836.6; 25. India-2 (Mehuli Ghosh, Deepak Kumar) 831.6.

Mixed air pistol: 1. Russia (Vitalina Batsarashkina, Artem Chernousov) 488.1 (772); 2. China-2 (Wang Qian, Wang Meng Yi) 480.2 (771); 3. Ukraine-2 (Olena Kostevych, Oleh Omelchuk) 416.7 (775); 10. India-2 (Heena Sidhu, Shahzar Rizvi) 768; 12. India (Manu Bhaker, Abhishek Verma) 767.

Junior men: 50m free pistol: 1. Arjun Singh Cheema 559; 2. Kim Woojong (Kor) 554; 3. Gaurav Rana 551; 5. Anmol Jain 549.

Team: 1. India 1659; 2. Korea 1640; 3. China 1627.