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India experienced a disappointing outing in the ISSF World Cup Final as both their representatives, pistol ace Jitu Rai and Pooja Ghatkar in women’s air rifle, failed to clear the qualification hurdle in New Delhi on Thursday.
Rai, fresh from his gold medal in the air pistol mixed event along with Heena Sidhu, could not make the final of the men’s 10m air pistol and was placed ninth. The top eight make the cut. Multiple medallist at top global events, including the World Championships and Asian Games, Rai shot a sequence of 94, 96, 96, 97, 95, and 94 to total 572.
He shot 95 in the penultimate 10-shot series and eventually dropped to 94 to bow out of the competition at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting ranges. Eventual gold medal winner Matsuda Tomoyuki of Japan, who qualified eighth, aggregated 573 in the qualification, while
Vietnamese Cuong Quoc Tran topped it with 586 but fell behind in the final.
In the women’s 10m air rifle, India’s only hope Pooja Ghatkar finished ninth and failed to make the final. Ghatkar’s series included scores of 101.5, 103.9, 102.2, and an improved 104.8 for a total of 412.4. The lowest qualifying score was 412.5, by Norway’s Malin
Ghatkar had opened India’s medal tally in the World Cup Stage 1 earlier in the year, by winning a bronze in the same event. In the event, Andrea Arsovic of Serbia won gold with a score of 251.3, Romanian Georgeta-Laura Coman clinched silver with 249.7, while Xinyi Peng of China bagged the bronze after shooting 228.5.
In the men’s skeet, Italy’s Riccardo Filippelli clinched the gold medal beating Ben Llewellin of Great Britain 4-3 in a shoot-off. Both were tied at 59 out of the allotted 60 shots in the final.
Argentina’s Federico Gil finished third to claim the bronze, finishing with a score of 49. This was Filippelli’s second title at this range, having won a gold at the World Cup Stage 1 in February.
Owing to Filippelli’s effort, Italy shot to the top of the medals tally, while China came down to second with one gold, one silver and four bronze in the competition so far. Hosts India, with a solitary gold, are joint seventh with Spain and Japan.
Earlier, in the men’s 10m air pistol event, experienced Japanese Pistol shooter Matsuda added another gold medal to the one he won at the very same range a few months ago.
Matsuda, a former ISSF world champion in this event, shot two remarkable series midway through the final, adding a 10.5 -10.9 combination in the 6th series to the 10.5-10.7 he scored in the previous one.
With his score, Matsuda also set a new world record, besting the one set by Germany’s Christian Reitz at the 2017 European Championship in Maribor.
Alongside Matsuda on the podium was Ukrainian sensation Pavlo Korostylov, competing in his second World Cup Final at the age of 19. He won the silver with 241.1 and a junior world record to boot.
Despite a remarkable second half of the match, Korostylov was not able to match Matuda’s pace. His more experienced Ukrainian teammate Oleh Omelchuk, completed the 10m air pistol men podium, taking bronze medal with 218.8 points and adding it to the World Cup Final Gold he won in Bangkok in 2008 and to the bronze he won in Munich in 2013.