ISSF World Cup: India's Tejaswini, Sanjeev Rajput win gold in 50m rifle 3 positions

Tejaswini Sawant and Sanjeev Rajput win gold in the final of the mixed team event; Ukrainian pair of Serhiy Kulish and Anna Ilina wins silver.

Sanjeev Rajput at the Asian Games in 2018. - REUTERS

The seasoned Indian duo of Sanjeev Rajput and Tejaswini Sawant won the gold medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions mixed team event of the ISSF World Cup here on Friday.

The Indians beat Ukraine's Serhiy Kulish and Anna Ilina 31-29 in the gold medal match, using their years of experience to good effect to emerge victorious. The Indian gold count went up to 11 with their top finish.

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Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Sunidhi Chauhan won the bronze medal after getting the better of USA's Timothy Sherry and Virginia Thrasher 31-15 at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

To start with, Rajput and Sawant were 1-3 behind before leading 5-3.

Strong comeback

But the visiting shooters then raced ahead of their opponents before the Indians made another strong comeback to regain the top position and from there on, the home team maintained the lead to end on a winning note The Ukrainians tried to make a match of it but the home favourites managed to prevail in an exciting final.

In Qualification 2, Rajput and Sawant finished at the top with a total score of 588, with both the shooters getting 294 each.

While Tomar and Chauhan logged 580 to end the final qualification at fourth place and make the bronze medal round.

Kulish and Ilina were placed third with 583, ahead of the American duo of Thrasher and Sherry (581).

"In finals I need to work a little more... by making changes, I need to focus on improvements. Otherwise, considering the weather conditions (in individual qualifications) I have done well, in kneeling, prone in mixed team qualifications.

"There is a different kind of pressure in the finals, there are limited shots, lot of people are watching, the media is watching. So a lot of times small things get overlooked.

"Qualifications, I am very happy and even in the standing position, I shot 98, 98 and then 95, it was very close. Today, I did not do great in final because I tried to experiment," Rajput told reporters after the victory in the mixed event.

When asked about the time leading up to the Games, he said, "It is the most important phase of my life, I have been to two Olympics in 2008 and 2012, nine years later it will be a very different Olympics, and it will be different for everyone.

"It will also be very important for everyone because it has never happened like this, Olympics after a gap of five years." The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for 2020, was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sawant has done very well: Rajput

Rajput also praised his partner Sawant after the final.

"She has done extremely well, first time we were in mixed event together, we are in practice stage now and we have to analyse a lot and then worked on areas we can improve for better scores," he said.