India’s Ayonika Paul wobbled a bit towards the end but still managed to bag the bronze medal while Apurvi Chandela missed out on a podium finish after a disappointing outing in the final of women’s 10m air rifle event at the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship in New Delhi on Monday.
Ayonika shot 185.0 to claim the bronze, behind gold medallist Jasmine Wei Xian Ser (208.1) of Singapore and Iran’s Elaheh Ahmadi, who aggregated 206.6 at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.
Besides Ayonika’s achievement, India had a gold medal and two more bronze through Aashi Rastogi and Prachi Gadkari in the women’s 10m air rifle youth and Shriyanka Sadangi in the junior category.
Rastogi shot 205.7 to bag the top prize, while Prachi managed 183.6 to finish third. Iran’s Roya Seyedeh won the silver medal in the event with a score of 205.5.
In the junior category, Sadangi shot 185.4 to finish third on the podium behind Iran’s Najmah Khedmati, who shot an impressive 208.9 to win the gold medal with a world record score and silver winner Fatemeh Karamzadeh (208.3), who is also an Iranian.
Najmah, who already has a Rio Olympics quota secured, shot 208.9 to beat country woman Karamzadeh, but the record would not stand due to the paucity of competitors in the event.
In the women’s 10m air rifle event, Ayonika started on a good note and maintained her consistency throughout except for two low scores of 9.6 and 9.0 towards the end, which put paid to her hopes of winning the silver.
The Indian, who also shot a very impressive 10.9, was engaged in a tussle with Xiang but the Singaporean proved too good to be toppled, as she kept the lead till the very end to finish on top in the eight women finals.
India turned out to be a happy hunting ground for the affable Singaporean as the last time she was here for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she had won a double gold -- both in the women’s 10m air rifle as well as her pet event, the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions.
By her standards, Chandela, who has already secured a quota for next year’s Rio Olympic Games, had a rather poor outing as she finished eighth with 81.3, while defending champion Pooja Ghatkar (143.3) was in the fifth place.
Clearly delighted at the result, Ser Xiang while speaking to the media after the event said, “I am very happy as this was a high enough quality field at the Asian level and it definitely boosts my confidence before I resume my fight for a Rio quota at the Asian Shooting Championship in November.”
She added: “I have been missing the quota by the narrowest of margins and this event is great preparation before the last quota event for Asian shooters.”
India bagged the team silver in women’s 10m air rifle. Ayonika felt she could have done better. “Pressure was there from the beginning but we are trained to handle that. Yes, I could have done better in the last two shots but it was not my day. I was prepared for a better result,” Ayonika said.