Pistol shooter Jitu Rai became the first Indian to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games after he finished second in the 50metre pistol event in the ongoing World Championships in Granada, Spain on Tuesday. The silver-medal finish meant the army shooter also bagged a quota place for the country at the 2016 Games.
Jitu finished behind South Korea’s double Olympic Champion Jin Jongoh in a closely contested final. Jin shot a total of 192.3 over 20 shots in the finals while Jitu finished with a score of 191.1. China’s Pang Wei finished third.
Jitu’s teammates — Commonwealth Games silver medallist Gurpal Singh and Omprakash —finished 33 rd and 38 th after shooting a total of 550 and 548 respectively. Interestingly, Jin broke the longest-surviving shooting record in the qualifications with a score of 583 points. He bettered USSR’s Alexander Melentiev’s record of 581 points set in 1980.
Jitu is having a dream year. Besides winning gold at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, he had won two back-to-back medals in the World Cup early this year. He also bagged a silver in 10m air pistol at the Munich World Cup.
Meanwhile, Ayonika Paul finished a disappointing eighth in the women’s 10m air rifle event after qualifying first with a total of 620.8 points. Also, trap shooter and former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu continued his dream start to the competition with another two straight rounds of 25 each.