Fighting Jitu wins bronze

Shooting World Cup: Armyman hands India third medal of the event

Fighting Jitu wins bronze
Jitu Rai came from the brink to clinch a bronze medal in men’s 10M air pistol in the ISSF World Cup at the Dr Karni Singh Range on Tuesday.

The medal was India’s third in the tournament after Pooja Ghatkar’s bronze in the women’s 10M air rifle and silver of Ankur Mittal in men’s double trap.

The gold was won by 2010 World champion Tomoyuki Matsuda with 240.1 points, who also set a new pistol record, ahead of reigning Olympic champion Hoang Xuan Vinh of Vietnam who took the silver with 236.6 points.

Rai, who had won a gold medal in the mixed event with Heena Sidhu on Monday, was off to a slow start. He was ranked seventh after 12 shots, and narrowly escaped the first elimination by a mere 0.2 margin. Rai, a multiple World Cup medallist, then gradually moved up the ladder with each shot, firing in the excess of 10s, and piping Vietnam’s Tran Quoc Cuong (sixth place) and China’s Yang Wei (fifth place) on way. All through, Rai, who in October won the free pistol silver in the World Cup Final in Bologna, where he also emerged the Champion of Champions in pistol, was cheered by a capacity home crowd.

After 18 shots, Rai notched up couple of 10.6s, to jump to the third place, and after 21 shots he had taken the second place, overtaking Hoang by 0.1 point. However, an 8.6 shot him down and the Army man had to settle for the third place with a total of 216.7 points.

Omkar Singh and Amanpreet Singh were other Indian shooters in fray but couldn’t qualify.

"It was a bad start but I made up my mind to give my best and fight till the end," said Rai, who was placed sixth in the qualifying rounds.

“The poor start was a blessing in disguise. After I had two-three bad shots, the pressure had eased too. “

In the men’s 50M rifle prone, the Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang couldn’t make the cut after finishing 15th in the qualifiers (617 points). Also to miss out was Sushil Ghalay (617.9), who finished 12th. Chain Singh was the only Indian to enter the eight-man final, where he finished seventh with 141.9 points. Japan’s Toshikazu Yamashita won the gold with 249.8 points followed by China’s Liu Yukun (249.3) and Poland’s Daniel Romanczyk(226.6).

Results: Men: 10M air pistol: Tomoyuki Matsuda (240.1, Jpn); 1, Hoang Xuan Vinh(236.6, Vie); 2, Jitu Rai (216.7, Ind), 3.

50M rifle prone: Toshikazu Yamashita(249.8, Jpn), 1; Liu Yukun (249.3, Chn,); 2, Daniel Romanczyk(226.6, Pol); 3.
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