ISSF World Cup: Saurabh Chaudhary-Manu Bhaker win 10m air pistol mixed team gold

After equalling the World Record during qualification with a score of 778, the Indian pair clinched the gold with a comfortable victory margin of 5.7 in the final.

Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker with the mixed air pistol team gold medal in the shooting World Cup in Delhi on Wednesday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

For the brave, pressure is a privilege.

For the Indian team that was reeling under considerable pressure after the gold medals and Olympic quotas had dried up after the first two days, it was a memorable climax as Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary hauled the sagging spirits to clinch the mixed air pistol gold in the shooting World Cup that concluded at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Wednesday.

Key highlights: Day 5

It was the second gold for the 17-year-old Saurabh, the Asian Games champion, after the individual gold in air pistol earlier. For Manu, it was a fighting performance as she handled the crunch with poise, releasing the best shots, and cancelling her aim and starting afresh whenever required, despite the possibility of getting into time pressure.

Between the two Youth Olympics champions who have achieved quite a lot at such a tender age, there was not much strategy, except to shoot their best.

The warmth of the team was only evident when Manu and Saurabh were gracious in acknowledging the other as the better shooter when queried in front of the television cameras.

Saurabh Chaudhary won his second gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi on Thursday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

 

Even though it was Saurabh who pulled the team better, shooting 393 as against 385 of Manu, in qualification in equaling the world record total of 778, and delivered the big 10s to help the team surge, Manu played her part well when Saurabh himself shot the 8s and the 9s in the gripping final.

For the record, the Indian team logged 483.4 points, to beat the Chinese Jiang Ranxin and Zhang Bowen, comprehensively by 5.7 points.

Two Korean teams made the final, and one of them, Kim Bomi and Han Seungwoo, lost the shoot-off against the Chinese, in losing the chance for a better medal.

“I shoot first, because I take more time,’’ conceded Manu, even as she stressed the point that it was good for the boys to take the lost shot. The sequence of the left shooter shooting first as the pairs compete in the final, is a mandatory rule and will attract penalty, if not followed.

“There is a lot left to achieve. This is just the beginning. I am always confident. It is good when people come to cheer for us,’’ said Saurabh.

After winning her first medal in the third event, the maximum competition for any Indian shooter in this World Cup, Manu was understandably relieved.

“At last, there is a medal for me. I am happy that we could win gold for India. It is a special moment as we can hear the national anthem,’’ said Manu.

She had placed fifth in sports pistol and had missed the final by one point in air pistol.

The second Indian team of Heena Sidhu and Abhishek Verma shot 770, with 384 and 386 respectively, and missed the final by two points. It was a remarkable fight back for the seasoned Heena after the disappointment of the individual event.

In mixed air rifle, Anjum Moudgil and Ravi Kumar shot 836.7 and missed the final by 0.2 point in a strong field of 54 teams, in which the Chinese bagged the gold.

The results

Mixed team air pistol: 1. India (Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary) 483.4 (778 EWR); 2. China (Jiang Ranxin, Zhang Bowen) 477.7 (775); 3. Korea (Kim Bomi, Han Seungwoo) 418.8 (773); 9. India-A (Heena Sidhu, Abhishek Verma) 770.

Mixed team air rifle: 1. China (Zhao Ruozhu, Liu Yukun) 503.6 WR (841.1); 2. Romania (Laura-Georgeta Coman, Alin George Moldoveanu) 496.2 (836.9); 3. Korea Keum Jihyeon, Choo Byounggil) 433.4 (836.5); 7. India (Anjum Moudgil, Ravi Kumar) 836.3; 25. India-A (Apurvi Chandela, Deepak Kumar) 831.0.