Om Prakash Mitharval won the men’s 50-metre free pistol gold in the 52nd World Shooting Championship in Korea on Tuesday.
In doing so, Om Prakash became only the fourth World Champion in shooting behind Abhinav Bindra, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Tejaswini Sawant.
Like Tejaswini’s gold in women’s rifle prone, a non-Olympic event, free pistol has also been dropped for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Thus, there was no final, as Om Prakash won with a score of 564.
Jitu Rai, who had won the silver in the same event in 2014, finished 17th with 552.
The gold, the third for India in the current edition of the World Championship, followed the ones by Arjun Singh Cheema and the team in the junior free pistol event.
The juniors continued to strike the medals, as Asian Games gold medallist Saurabh Chaudhary combined with Abhidnya Patil to win the junior air pistol mixed team bronze, behind two Korean teams.
The other Indian team of Devanshi Rana and Anmol Jain also made the final, but ended up fifth. India was third in the medals table behind Korea and China, with three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
What hurt the Indian camp was the inability of Manu Bhaker and Heena Sidhu to make the women’s air pistol final, in a high scoring competition, in which Olympic champion Anna Korakaki of Greece beat world champion Zorana Arunovic of Serbia for the gold.
Both the shooters won the Olympic quota, along with Kim Bomi of Korea and Jiang Ranxin of China.
Manu shot 574 and missed the final by six points, while Heena had 571.
The third Indian in the fray, Shweta Singh who had won an individual bronze medal in air pistol in the Asian Games in Incheon, could muster 568 for the 45th place in a field of 100 shooters.
In the elimination series in men’s 50-metre rifle prone, Chain Singh (622.5), Gagan Narang (618.3) and Sanjeev Rajput (615.3) made the cut.
In women’s rifle prone event, former World Champion Tejaswini Sawant (618.6), Anjum Moudgil (617.0) and Shreya Saksena (612.5) made the cut for the competition on the morrow.
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