India’s Meghana Sajjanar and Pooja Ghatkar on Thursday lost out on medals by whisker as they finished fourth and fifth respectively in the women’s 10m air rifle final at the fifth and final stage of the ISSF World Cup (Rifle/Pistol) series, at Gabala, Aerbaijan.
Meghana missed her first-ever World Cup medal after losing out agonisingly in a shoot-off to finish fourth with a score of 205.7. Compatriot Pooja finished fifth with a score of 183.8 in the final.
The 22-year old Meghana from Bengaluru, competing in only her third World Cup after making her debut in the first New Delhi leg earlier in the year, shot an excellent 419.6 to qualify for the final in top spot among the eight women.
Pooja, now a seasoned shooter, made it to her second final of the year, after her bronze medal winning performance at the New Delhi World Cup, which was also her first-ever World Cup medal.
It was a Chinese 1-2 at the top in the women’s 10m air rifle with teenagers Xinyi Peng and Mengyao Shi winning gold and silver respectively while Singapore’s top rifle shooter Jasmine Xer bagging the bronze.
Earlier, India’s challenge in the men’s 10m air rifle event was restricted to the qualifying stages when the trio of Deepak Kumar, Satyendra Singh and Ravi Kumar finished a disappointing 25th, 36th and 41st respectively.
Deepak shot a score of 623.3, Satyendra 620.4 and Ravi 620.0. Ravi had earlier made it to two World Cup Finals in New Delhi and Munich without winning a medal.
In the day’s other event, Jitu Rai, Prakash Nanjappa and Amanpreet Singh sailed through their elimination rounds in the men’s 50m pistol event and will shoot their qualification round tomorrow.
A total of 430 athletes from 45 countries will pile-up 770 starts at the Gabala World Cup which will be the last chance for rifle and pistol shooters to qualify for the year end showpiece — the ISSF World Cup Finals (WCF), which has the eight best shooters of the world in each Olympic discipline along with reigning Olympic and World Championship medalists and wild-cards squaring-off with each other.
This year’s World Cup Finals will be held in New Delhi in October. At least four Indian rifle and pistol shooters are within striking distance of gaining qualification to the ISSF World Cup Finals.
Pooja’s final appearance in Gabala should confirm her place at WCF New Delhi given she was placed seventh in the qualification rankings prior to Gabala. Jitu has almost secured his qualification for the WCF.
India are represented by a 23-member rifle and pistol squad at Gabala. There are 12 women and 11 men in the squad.