India’s Jitu Rai beat a strong field to win gold in the men’s 50m pistol event shooting World Cup in Bangkok on Friday.
Jitu scored 191.3 points in the final round. Former World and Olympic champion Pang Wei of China took second place with 186.5. Olympic medallist Wang Zhiwei, also of China, finished third with a final round score of 165.8.
India’s Prakash Nanjappa shot 549 in the qualification round to be placed 17th.
Jitu reached the final by finishing third at the end of the 60 shot qualifying series with a score of 562. Wei led the field of eight top qualifiers with a score of 564, while Wang followed him in second place with 563.
Former World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan was also expected to be a threat in the final given his recent form in the Asian Shooting qualifiers in Delhi.
Jitu did not start as strongly as he would have wanted to in the final. However, the Indian army shooter maintained a top three position throughout.
Wei, who was also having a strong consistent show, finally conceded the lead to Jitu after below par shots in his 13th and 14th attempts. The following two shots also saw a similar pattern for Pang and from then on, it was Jitu all the way as both Chinese challengers had a tame end to the 20-shot final.
Tomoyuki Matsuda was eliminated in fifth place after briefly lying in the top three.
Saturday will see the finals of the men’s 50m Prone and 10m Air Pistol events. Jitu will aim to increase his medal tally in the pistol event while Gagan Narang and Chain Singh will lead India’s charge in the rifle event.