New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) In a thrilling gold medal match-up in the Women’s 25M Pistol team competition on the penultimate day of the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol in Cairo, India registered a 17-13 victory over Singapore to claim their third gold of the tournament.
Rahi Sarnobat, Esha Singh, and Rhythm Sangwan made it to the title round on Saturday after topping the second qualification stage along with the Singaporean trio of Xiu Hong, Shun Xie, and Ling Chiao Nicole Tan.
This was Esh’s second gold and third medal of the World Cup as well, as she had won the Women’s 10M Air Pistol team event to add to the silver she won in the Women’s 10M Air Pistol individual event.
India further added to their medal count on the day, after Shriyanka Sadangi and Akhil Sheoran beat Austria’s Rebecca Koeck and Gernot Rumpler 16-10 in the bronze medal match of the 50M Rifle 3-Positions (3P) Mixed Team competition.
When the Indian women began their gold medal match with six hits out of 15 to Singapore’s four to take a 2-0 lead, very few expected the drama that was going to unfold. At the end of the third series of five shots each for every member, the scores were tied at 3-3 and coach Samaresh Jung called for a time-out as Esha had registered back-to-back blanks.
That seemed to have settled nerves and with the experienced Rahi coming into her own and registering five hits in the fifth series, India led again with the score reading 7-3. However, Singapore came back strongly to win the next three series and take the lead for the first time in the match. India came back emphatically to win the ninth series 12-7, to level the match again at 9-9.
The pendulum kept swinging for the next four series and after the end of the 13th, the two teams remained unseparated at 13-13. Then India clinched the 14th just about with a 10-8 score-line to go into the 15th series 15-13 ahead and needing a point more for victory.
Both teams began the 15th with all three hits but it was the Singaporeans who blinked first registering blanks over the next six shots to give India the title and the gold.
In the 50M Rifle 3-Positions Mixed Team competition, India’s Shriyanka Sadangi and Akhil Sheoran came through round one of qualification, finishing fifth out of 34 teams with a combined score of 872 out of 900 and then finished third out of the top eight teams in round two, with an effort of 581 out of 600, to make it to the bronze medal match against Austria who finished fourth in the round. Norway beat Germany for gold in the event.
In the Men’s 25M Rapid Fire Pistol, India fell short of the medal rounds with Bhavesh Shekhawat finishing 12th with 576 while Anish Bhanwala ended 18th with 571. Gurpreet Singh with 554 was further behind at 32nd spot.
The final two medals of the Cairo World Cup will be decided on Monday in Team competitions and India, currently placed second on the medal tally, will surely aim for the top spot.