Apurvi Chandela on Saturday broke World Record to register India’s first gold medal at the ISSF World Cup 2019. The 26-year-old shooter shot 252.9 in a thrilling 10m Women Air Rifle finale to bag the yellow metal on Day 1 of the tournament at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi.
Chandela had a slow start in the final. Her first shot went 10.1. After the first two series of five shots, she was at the 7th position. But as the game progressed, she gained the momentum to stay on top. “I do not usually plan my scoring like that. I think, at the start, my positioning was a little off. So, I tweaked my settings a bit, which eventually bore the result,” the shooter said at the press conference after the match.
In the final round, Chandela was engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with China’s Zhao Ruozhu, who had earlier broken the World Record in the Qualification stage, scoring 634 points. But in the final two-shot series, Chandela shot a 10.6 and a 10.8 to win the top prize, while Ruozhu had to settle for silver.
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China’s Xu Hong, who gave a tough battle to Chandela for gold, won bronze scoring 230.4 in the final.
Speaking about the high intensity clash, Chandela recalled the Munich World Cup last year, when she dropped from the top position to finish 4th. “In Munich World Cup, I was leading and then I dropped down. It was a freak shot, it wasn’t a malfunction. It was my error. But I am glad, I was able to move past that because such things can play in your mind. I think I beat myself in that way.”
In terms of Olympic quotas, it means little for India, with Chandela and Anjum Moudgil already having the maximum number of quotas available in the event for a country. But the medal win certainly adds to the expectations from the shooting contingent at Tokyo Olympics next year.
“When I got the quota, my aim was not the quota, it was to improve my technique. So today, I was focusing on the same thing,” said Chandela, who was the only Indian shooter to qualify for the 10m Women Air Rifle final. She finished at the 4th spot in the Qualification round with 629.3
Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan, the other two competitors in the event failed to qualify, finishing in 12th and 30th positions, respectively.
Earlier in the day, Mehuli Ghosh, who was participating as MQS in the event, meaning she required Minimum Qualification Score to continue participation in future ISSF events, topped the Qualification Relay 1 with 631 points, scoring higher than both Chandela and Moudgil.
“All the youngsters coming up is great for the sport because it pushes me to work harder. It keeps me motivated,” Chandela said.