Shooting WC: Jitu and Heena win 2nd mixed gold

Having won the test event in Delhi in February, with a 5-3 victory over Japan in the final, the ace Indian pistol shooters had the experience and confidence to strike yet again.

Heena Sidhu (left) and Jitu Rai pose after their win at the ISSF World Cup in Gabala.   -  ISSF

It was a hundred per cent strike rate for the ace pistol shooters Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai as they won their second successive gold in the mixed air pistol competition in the shooting World Cup in Gabala on Monday.

Having won the test event in Delhi in February, with a 5-3 victory over Japan in the final, the ace Indian pistol shooters had the experience and confidence to strike yet again.

With the rules having been tweaked a little more this time, when it has been confirmed that the mixed events would be part of the shooting programme as medal events in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Heena and Jitu beat the Russians, Vladir Gontcharov and Vitalina Batsarashkina, 7-6 after having trailed 0-4 in the gold contest.

In a single shot format in which the combined better score of a team fetches it one point, the team reaching a total of seven first with at least a difference of one point wins the contest.

Guided by coach Ronak Pandit, husband of Heena, the Indian pair sailed through from the qualification stage, to the semifinals to eventually the gold medal with a touch of assurance.

At the start, each shooter fires 25 shots, and the combined scores of each pair is used to rank the teams. The top eight teams from the preliminary stage make it to the semifinals, which is conducted in two batches of four teams each, on a progressive elimination format.

The best teams from the semifinals clash in the final, while the second placed teams from the two semifinals fight for the bronze.

Heena (242) and Jitu (243) had topped the qualification stage with 485 points, ahead of Serbia (482), Ukraine (482), China (482), Germany (481), Iran (480), France (480) and Russia (479).

India, with Heena (121.1) and Jitu (119.6) had topped the semifinals with a total of 240.7 ahead of France (236.5), Ukraine (194.4) and Germany (153.8).

In the other semifinal, Russia topped with 239.4 ahead of Iran (233.9), China (194.3) and Serbia (154.2).

Ceine Goberville and Florian Fouquet of France beat Golnoush Sebghatolllahi and Vahid Golkhandan of Iran 7-6 for the bronze medal.

“Heena and Jitu are able to perform to their level in finals and this makes them very strong and consistent”, observed coach Ronak.