Sarabjot clinches men’s air pistol gold, women shooters falter in ISSF World Cup

Bhopal, 22 Mar: Sarabjot Singh shot down a gold in men’s air pistol while Varun Tomar clinched a bronze in the same event as India opened their ISSF Pistol/Rifle World Cup campaign with two medals here on Wednesday.
The Indian women air pistol shooters though couldn’t make it to the medal bracket, with Manu Bhaker, Divya Subbaraju and Rhythm Sangwan failing to come good on the inaugural day of competitions here.
Sarabjot, the 2021 junior world champion in the team and mixed team categories, defeated Azerbaijan’s Ruslan Lunev 16-0 in the gold-medal match in the first final of the World Cup.
The 21-year-old Sarabjot was in awesome form all through as he emerged leader at the end of the qualification round with 585 points.
Sarabjot was hitting the bulls eye every time he took aim, with his scores of 98, 97, 99, 97, 97, 97 in the six qualification series sugges-ting he would be hard to beat.
China’s Liu Jinyao was a close second at 584.
Six other shooters — Jason Solari (Switzerland, 583 points), Vladimir Svechinko (Uzbekistan, 582), Frederik Larsen (Denmark, 580), Zhang Jie (China, 580), Ruslan Lunev (Azerbaijan, 579) and Varun Tomar (India, 579) — completed the list of eight marksmen who made it to the ranking round.
In the ranking round, Sarabjot continued to excel, while 19-year-old Varun also began superbly after qualifying eighth and last for the ranking round.
At the end of the ranking round, Sarabjot (253.2 points) and Ruslan (251.9) were placed first and second respectively and both of them entered the gold-medal round high on confidence, while Varun, who scored 250.3, settled for bronze.
In the battle for the top podium place, the Azerbaijan shooter was no match for Sarabjot, with the Indian firing single-shot scores of 10.4, 10.4, 10.3, 10.2, 10.2, 10.9 in comparison to Ruslan’s 10.1, 10.1, 9.6, 9.5, 8.9 and 10.4.
As per the ISSF’s new format, the winner of a single shot in the final gets awarded two points and the first to race to 16 points is the winner of the competition.
With Sarabjot shooting better scores in all six shots, he raced to the title, giving India its first gold medal in the competition.
For Varun, who has given ample indication of his precocious talent, this was his second consecutive World Cup bronze after he had finished third last month as well in Cairo. He had beaten Sarabjot in the shoot-off for the third place then.
The third Indian in the fray, Sumit Raman could not make the eight-shooter ranking round, bowing out in the qualification after finishing 13th with a score of 577.
In the women’s air pistol event, 27-year-old Divya Subbaraju did much better than Olympian Manu Bhaker, entering the ranking round after coming third in qualification with a score of 579.
However, the Indian ended up ranked fifth with China’s Li Xue winning gold after defeating Germany’s Doreen Vennekamp in the title round. Another Chinese shooter, Wei Qian bagged the bronze medal.
The two other Indians — Rhythm (572) and Manu (568) — couldn’t make the ranking round, getting eliminated in the qualific-ation, after finishing 13th and 16th respectively. (PTI)