Consistency in performance augurs well for Indian shooters

Ten medals including four gold, in Olympic events, without considering the team medals, is a strong statement by the Indian team.

Esha Singh and Gaurav Rana won the mixed air rifle bronze in the Junior World Cup in Suhl.   -  Special Arrangement

It has become a matter of routine for India to top the medals table in the World Cups this season.

Even as the president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Raninder Singh, is thrilled that the youngsters have topped the medals table for the fourth year in a row in the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, it may have to be stressed that the Indian men and women have absolutely been brilliant in rifle and pistol in New Delhi, Beijing and Munich this year.

It was in the fitness of things that 14-year-old Esha Singh wound up the show for India by winning the bronze medal in mixed air rifle with Gaurav Rana. It could have been a better medal but for the duo slipping in the second qualification phase after having topped the first.

Rising to the occasion

Esha has done remarkably well to step it up on the international stage, following her sweep in the women's, junior and youth gold medals in air pistol in the National Championship in Thiruvananthapuram last year.

Esha had also won the individual silver in the junior women’s air pistol, while Sarabjot Singh had won the gold in the junior men’s air pistol. These are Olympic events and should augur well for the future of Indian shooting.

Even though India was No. 1 in the medals table, with 10 gold, nine silver and five bronze, the individual medals from the Olympic events, including the ones in the mixed events, stand out.

Icing on the cake

Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar winning the junior men’s rifle 3-position gold with a junior world record on the last day was the icing on the cake.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anish Bhanwala was able to assert himself with the 25-metre rapid fire pistol gold, with an impressive margin. His 584 in qualification should also be a good indication of India’s bid to win the Olympic quota in the event, with Adarsh Singh also pressing his claim.

Elavenil Valarivan was excellent in winning the junior women’s air rifle gold, ahead of Mehuli Ghosh who has been shooting world-class scores as a matter of routine in almost every competition.

Asian junior champion Yash Vardhan and World junior champion Hriday Hazarika could not get the individual medals, but were able to win the mixed air rifle silver and bronze medals with Shreya Agrawal and Mehuli Ghosh respectively.

Ten medals including four gold, in Olympic events, without considering the team medals, is a strong statement by the Indian team, without taking anything away from the team’s excellence in a bunch of pistol events.

The results

Mixed air pistol: 1. Germany (Andrea Katharine Heckner, Robin Walter) 16 (382, 571); 2. Belarus (Liubou Stralchonak, Abdul-Aziz Kurdzi) 12 (383, 569); 3. India (Esha Singh, Gaurav Rana) 16 (378, 573); 4. China (Li Xue, Wang Zhehao 14 (379, 571); 15. India-A (Priya Raghav, Arjun Singh Cheema) 564.