Divyansh nails silver to secure Olympic quota

Divyansh Singh Panwar

Rajasthan's 17-year-old teenager Divyansh Singh Panwar on Friday secured India's fourth Olympic quota place in shooting by winning a silver in the ISSF World Cup here.

Competing in only his second senior competition, Divyansh finished behind China's Zicheng Hui for the silver in the 10m air rifle event in the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup for pistol and rifle shooters.

In fact, he missed out on the gold medal by just 0.4 points, with Hui, firing 249.4 to the Indian's 249.0. Grigorii Shamakov of Russia settled for bronze with a score of 227.5.

This is India's fourth 2020 Tokyo Olympic quota after Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela (10m air rifle women), and Saurabh Choudhary (10m Air Pistol men) had secured berths in the earlier World Cups and last year's World Championship.

Divyansh had qualified in the third position for the final with a total score of 629.2 in the 60-shot competition.

In the eight-man final, Divyansh shot like a seasoned pro and barring a 95, none of his scores was below 10.1.

While a 10.9 in his 21st shot was the highlight, two other shots -- a 10.5 to secure bronze and a 10.5 when faced with a bit of pressure from the legendary Hungarian Peter Sidi ahead of his 17th shot -- stood out.

The lad from Jaipur was never out of contention in the final, staying in the top three throughout.

Among the other Indians in the fray, Ravi Kumar finished 44th with a score of 624.1 while Deepak Kumar was placed 57th with 622.6.

"Feeling really proud to have won a quota for my country. I have gained in experience from this final. It was very tough with proven shooters, Olympians in the fray," Divyansh said.

China had already secured their maximum two quotas in the event, ensuring the two available berths went to India and Russia.

On Thursday, Divyansh partnered with Anjum to beat the formidable Chinese pair of Liu Ruxuan and Yang Haoran 17-15 in 10m air rifle mixed team event and win the gold.

This was India's third medal at the World Cup in China and they sit at the top of the medals tally.

The duo of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary had on Thursday won gold in the 10m air pistol mixed team event.

A maximum of 24 quota places -- two each across 12 events in rifle, pistol and shotgun -- can be won by an individual national Olympic committee.

In the other event of the day -- the men's 25m rapid fire competition -- Adarsh Singh was the best Indian performer and finished 10th with a score of 583 in qualifying.

Anish Bhanwala was next, claiming the 22nd spot with a score of 578, while Arpit Goel finished with 575 to claim the 29th position.

China's world number one Lin Junmin won gold with a final round score of 35 while Germany's Oliver Geis bagged silver with 31 and France's Jean Quiquampoix clinched bronze with 27 points.

The three Olympic quotas in the event, however, went to Oliver Geis of Germany and USA's Henry Leverett, who finished fifth and Ukraine's Oleksandr Petriv, who was sixth, as China had already maximised their two quotas going into the final and Jean Quiquampoix had also secured a quota earlier.

 

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