Jitu-Heena nail gold on day one

Deepak-Meghana end 4th

Jitu-Heena nail gold on day one

India made a bright start to their World Cup Final campaign with Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai clinching the gold in the 10M air pistol mixed team event at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range on Tuesday. 

The Indian pair, with 483.4 points, pipped France’s Florian Fouquet and Celine Goberville (481.1), who were leading after three series of five shots. The bronze medal was won by China’s Yang Wei and Cai Xiaoxue, who could never come close to the Indian and the French pair. They finished at 418.2.

The Indians, who topped the qualification stage with a total of 767 pts, were off to a slow start and trailed the French by 2.5 points after the first series of five shots. They gradually closed the gap once they gained their rhythm and tied the score at 343.1 after 34 shots.

If Heena shot high scores in the beginning, Jitu came into his own towards the end, shooting a couple of 10.9s, as they broke away from the pack. With the win, the two became the first athletes to claim the ISSF crystal globes in this event.

It was the Indian pair’s third gold in the mixed event this year, after winning both the test events at the World Cup in New Delhi and Gabala earlier this year.

Heena, who took the first shots in the contest, admitted the slow start was a problem. “What you saw today was a much better start. We were a disaster during training!” she laughed and continued, “But we peaked at the right time. There were high expectations on us, that’s why we trained a lot together in the last days.”

It was Heena’s second World Cup Final medal after winning the gold in 10M air pistol in 2013.

Jitu, who had won a silver last year in the men’s 50M pistol at the Final, said he liked the current format. “It is a bit longer than the other ones we tried in the past, but we definitely like it.”

There was, however, disappointment in store for India in the 10M air rifle mixed event. The Indian pairing of Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar suffered a 2.0-point penalty at the end of the second series but survived a tie-breaking shoot-off to determine fifth and last place. They eventually finished fourth with 387.4 points.

The gold in the event was clinched by China’s Song Buhan and Wu Mingyang with a score of 499.8 points, edging Serbia’s Milutin Stefanovic and Andrea Arsovic to second place (496.8). China’s Sui Gengcheng and Shi Mengyao won the bronze (430.3)

In the mixed team trap, Spain’s Antonio Bailon and Beatrice Martinez won the gold shooting 42 out of 50. They beat Italy’s Giovanni Pellielo and Jessica Rossi (40). American Derrek Haldeman and Ashley Carroll won the bronze (31).

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