Pooja gets India off to bright start

Shooting World Cup : 28-year-old bags bronze in 10M air rifle

Pooja gets India off to bright start

Pooja Ghatkar provided a bright start to the home campaign by clinching a bronze medal in the women’s 10m air rifle event in the World Cup at the Dr Karni Singh Range on Friday.

China's Mengyao Shi won the gold medal with a score of 252.1, setting a new world record in the process, with compatriot Dong Lijie bagging the silver (248.9). With the introduction of the new technical rules, the 10m air rifle finals now consist of 24 shots, and therefore all the records were re-set at the beginning of the season.

Pooja, with 228.8 points in the final, had finished second in the qualification round with 418 points. The other two Indians in the fray, Meghana Sajjanar (413.3) and Vinita Bhardwaj (412.3) ended up in 16th and 20th to lose out on the final berth.

Pooja, who has been mentored by Olympic medal winning shooter Gagan Narang in Pune, kept up her good form in the final. In fact, she was going strong at second place before her blinder fell on the 15th shot, resulting in a lowly 9.9. It slid the 28-year-old in the ranks but she maintained her composure to claw back to third place. With some fine scores, she kept the third Chinese finalist Wu Mingyang, who finished fourth, at bay.

In the men’s air rifle, India’s Deepak Kumar (185.4) and Ravi Kumar (122) entered the finals but bowed out at fifth and eighth places. The gold was won by China’s Song Buhan (249.5), who also set a world record, while Hungary’s Peter Sidi (249.1) and Japan’s Atsushi Shimada (227.4) settled for second and third place.

The windy conditions heightened the challenge in women’s trap, where none of the Indians, Rajeshwari Kumari (17th place, 64  points), Seema Tomar (22nd, 60) and Manisha Kheer (29th, 51) could qualify for the finals. The gold in the event was won by Australia’s Penny Smith with a world record score of 40, followed by Italy’s Jessica Ross(38)i and Finland’s Mopsi Veromaa (27).

Results: Men: 10M air rifle: Song Buhan (Chn) 249.5, 1; Peter Sidi (Hun) 249.1, 2; Atsushi Shimada (Jpn) 227.4, 3.

Women: 10m air rifle: Mengyao Shi (Chn) 252.1, 1; Dong Lijie (Chn) 248.9, 2; Pooja Ghatkar (Ind) 228.8, 3.

Women’s trap: Penny Smith (Aus) 40, 1; Jessica Rossi (Ita) 38, 2; Mopsi Veromaa (Fin) 27, 3.

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