Sarabjot Singh clinched the Olympic quota place with a bronze medal in men’s air pistol in the 15th Asian shooting championship in Changwon, Korea, on Tuesday.
Sarabjot shot 581 in qualification and took the eighth and last spot for the final in a dramatic fashion. He pipped five others from five different countries, with his better score of 26x (inner 10s).
It was the eighth Olympic quota for Indian shooting for the Paris Games, and the first in the pistol section.
With China having already bagged two Olympic quota places in the event and only one of the two Koreans eligible, Sarabjot had his task cut out needing a high finish.
Each country can earn a maximum two Olympic quota places per event in shooting sport.
Sarabjot, winner of the men’s 10m air pistol team gold and mixed team silver at the Hangzhou Asian Games recently, shot to the lead after the first five shots which was crucial and, as the two Chinese caught up and went past him, Sarabjot was able to maintain his composure and register yet another international podium finish.
The other Indians in men’s 10m air pistol failed to make the finals. Varun Tomar (578) and Kunal Rana (577) finished 16th and 17th, while Shiva Narwal (576) was 20th and Saurabh Chaudhary (569) was 35th.
Rudrankksh Patil, Swapnil Kusale, Bhowneesh Mendiratta, Mehuli Ghosh, Sift Kaur Samra, Akhil Sheoran and Rajeshwari Kumari had won the Olympic quota earlier in the World Championships.
Quite surprisingly, none of the Indian women air pistol shooters made the final. Rhythm Sangwan was the best with 577 and missed the final by two points.
In junior women’s air pistol, Sainyam won the gold and the team silver along with Drishti Sangwan and Suruchi Singh.
India had three shooters in the junior men’s final, but could only win the team silver through Sagar Bhargava, Yash Tomar and Shubham Bisla.
(With inputs from PTI)
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