Shooter Om Prakash Mitharval on Tuesday won India’s maiden gold medal at the ISSF World Championships, as he bagged the top honour in the 50m pistol event in Changwon, South Korea. The 23-year old, who won the bronze medal in 10m air pistol and the 50m pistol events at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year, scored 564 to win the yellow metal.
Mitharval surpassed Serbia’s Damir Mikec (562) and the local favourite Daemyung Lee (560) to win the gold. The veteran shooter Jitu Rai had a disappointing final as he finished 17th with a score of 552.
After his victory, Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Rajyavardhan Rathore congratulated the young shooter in a tweet. “Fabulous show by Om Prakash Mitharval who shot a GOLD in Men’s 50M Free Pistol Event at the ISSF Shooting World Championships in Korea! I congratulate him on his consistent performance and great form throughout this year,” he wrote.
Om Prakash Mitharval Shoots a GOLD!
Fabulous show by Om Prakash Mitharval who shot a GOLD in Men’s 50M Free Pistol Event at the @ISSF Shooting World Championships in Korea! I congratulate him on his consistent performance and great form throughout this year. ✌🏻👏 #KheloIndia pic.twitter.com/KaSt17TeQr
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) 4 September 2018
In the team competition of the same category, Mitharwai, Rai and Manjit finished in the fifth place with a total score of 1658. Manjit failed to make the final in the individual category, finishing in the 56th position. The ongoing championship is the first qualifying event for the 2020 Olympics but since 50m pistol is no longer a part of the Games roster, there were no quota places to be sealed.
The women shooters, Manu Bhaker and Heena Sidhu, who looked to seal Olympic qualification, faltered in the 10m air pistol event. The 16-year-old Bhaker, who had a disappointing run at the Asian Games, scored 574 to finish 13th, while Sidhu went down at the 29th position with a total of 571. The Indian team finished fourth with Bhaker, Sidhu and Shweta Singh combining for a total of 1713 points.
Later in the day, Chaudhary and debutant Patil qualified with a score of 761 for the five-team final along with the second Indian team of Devanshi Rana and Anmol Jain, who shot 765 to qualify in second place. Saurabh and Abhidnya shot 329.6 in the finals where gold and silver went to hosts Korea.
On Monday, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela became the first set of Indian shooters to secure quota places for the Olympics by winning a silver and finishing fourth respectively in the women’s 10m air rifle event.
Though the two shooters have secured quotas, as per the stated policy, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will take the final call on selection, based on the aggregate scores of shooters (in international tournaments and selection trials) leading up to the Olympic Games.
(With inputs from PTI)