ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup: Sanjeev Rajput wins Olympic Quota as India bags one each of gold, silver and bronze medals

India won three medals on the second day of the Shooting World Cup, to stay at the top of the tally in Rio, with four medals.

Sanjeev Rajput was off to a good start with 99, 98 and 98 in the first three series of Kneeling.

Sanjeev Rajput was off to a good start with 99, 98 and 98 in the first three series of Kneeling.   -  ISSF

Olympian Sanjeev Rajput clinched the eighth quota place for Tokyo 2020 with the silver medal in men’s rifle 3-position event at the shooting World Cup in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Added to that, Abhishek Verma continued his surge this season, pocketing another gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event. Compatriot Saurabh Chaudhary, also bagged bronze in the same.

It was a brilliant performance by the 38-year-old Sanjeev, who had been denied a chance to compete in the Rio Olympics, as his Olympic quota had been exchanged for a shotgun quota by the National
federation.

Sanjeev had the gold within reach, but a below par last shot saw him miss his second World Cup gold, after the one he had won in 2011, by a slender 0.2 point margin to Petar Gorsa of Croatia, who had won the Olympic quota in air rifle.

It was a brave effort by Sanjeev, as he had to endure the suspense of a "zero" credited to him on the 39th shot in kneeling position, in the qualification phase. Eventually, he qualified in style with 1180,
after the protest of the Indian camp was upheld.

Climbing steadily to the top, after the kneeling and prone stages, in the final, Sanjeev was quite composed till the anti-climactic last shot.

Sanjeev, with this feat, has joined the elite quota holders list having Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Rahi Sarnobat and Manu Bhaker.

He had shot 392 in kneeling, 398 in prone and 390 in standing in the qualification phase, to emerge the second best, one point behind Zhang Changhong of China.

As it happened

In the final, only five were eligible to win Olympic quota. There were two Serbians who were eligible to win one quota, apart from Simon Claussen of Norway and Jan Lochbihler of Switzerland.

When the second Serb finished fifth, Sanjeev and Simon had automatically confirmed their Olympic quota in the event.

In men’s air pistol, Saurabh (584) and Verma (582) qualified for the final, while Gaurav Rana stood eliminated after he finished 44th with 571 points.

Saurabh did not have the brightest of starts in the final, scoring three nine pointers in the first series of the first stage of competition. However, he slammed the acceleration soon, staying just a point behind then and eventual table-topper Verma at 101.6, after the completion of the first stage.

After Saurabh made an exit losing to Turkey's Ismail Keles by one point in the Elimination, Verma made sure to keep his calm and shut down all paths for Keles by shooting an eventual 10.7 to finish things off.

In women’s 25-metre sports pistol, Hungary's Veronika Major bagged her second gold this season. China's Xiong Yaxuan and Chia Chen Tien bagged silver and bronze, respectively. Yaxuan, additionally, clinched an Olympic Quota as well. Korea's Kim Jangmi got the fifth place and a quota. India's Chinki Yadav shot 584 and missed the final by one point to finish tenth. Annu Raj Singh (579) and Abhidnya Patil (572) placed 25th and 53rd, respectively.
 

The results:

Men: 50m rifle 3-position: 1. Petar Gorsa (Cro) 462.2 (1177); 2. Sanjeev Rajput 462.0 (1180); 3. Zhang Changhong (Chn) 449.2 (1181); 49. Chain Singh (Ind) 1161, 57. Parul Kumar (Ind) 1148.

Women: 25m Sports Pistol: 1. Veronika Major (Hun) 35; 2. Xiong Yaxuan (CHN) 33; 3. Chia Chen Tien (TPE) 28; 10. Chinki Yadav (Ind) 584, 25. Annu Raj Singh (Ind) 579; 53. Abhidnya Patil (Ind) 572

Men: 10m Air Pistol: 1. Abhishek Verma (Ind) 244.2; 2. Ismail Keles (Tur) 243.1; 3. Saurabh Chaudhary (Ind) 221. 9; 44. Gaurav Rana (Ind) 571