Former world number one shooter Heena Sidhu lived up to the billing as she clinched gold in the women’s 10m air pistol event to conclude India’s campaign at the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship on a winning note in New Delhi on Wednesday.
India also added the silver medal to its kitty as Shweta Singh stood second on the podium in the day’s marquee event, ahead of bronze medallist Seon A Kim of Korea.
Having topped the qualification with a score of 387 alongside another young Indian shooter Yashaswini Singh Deshwal, former world champion Sidhu shot 197.8 to win the top prize in the final. Shweta aggregated 197.0, while Kim managed 175.8.
In her first international final, Yashaswini finished a creditable fourth after shooting 155.3.
India, thus, won an impressive haul of 17 medals, including six gold (two in individual senior), to finish as toppers in the continental event, which lost some sheen after the pull-out of powerhouse China and Korea’s decision to not send numero uno pistol shooter Jin Jong-oh.
India bagged five silver and six bronze. In the overall standings, Iran took the second place with 12 podium finishes, including six gold and five silver medals, followed by Taipei, winning one gold, two silver and as many bronze.
In the day’s much-awaited event -- women’s 10m air pistol -- Sidhu got off to a terrific start firing a 10.7. But it was Shweta who was in the lead after the first three shots with a pair of 10s, as compared to a modest 9.8, 9.3 by Sidhu. With 61.3 points, Shweta continued to lead after the next three shots, as Sidhu followed with 60.7.
As Iran’s Elham Harijani got eliminated, Sidhu found her bearings again to topple Shweta from the lead. It was around this time that Korea’s Kim started to head north with some consistent scores, including a magnificent 10.9. Shweta shot to the top for a moment before Sidhu wrested the position again with a series of mid to high 10s.
Even as the Korean was eliminated after a brave fight, Sidhu and Shweta engaged in an intriguing tussle before the Ludhiana-born, Mumbai-based shooter prevailed.
Sidhu was satisfied with her effort in the qualification but the final was not up to the mark, according to her.
“Most of the time there was a lot of delay. I was taking a lot of time, that plays on your mind. Today, I was not happy with the way I shot in the finals, this was a lower finals for me,” Heena said.