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ISSF World Cup: Ankur Mittal’s double trap silver lifts gloom in Indian camp

Ankur Mittal narrowly missed out on a gold while the Indian pair of Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai won the ‘gold badge’ In the mixed team 10m air pistol event at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup (ISSF World Cup on Monday

other sports Updated: Feb 27, 2017 22:24 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ISSF World Cup,International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup,Ankur Mittal
India's Ankur Mittal shoots during the final of the men's double trap event at the ISSF World Cup (International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup) in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI)

For Ankur Mittal, the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges is home away from home. The shotgun shooter is a regular here and often spends the entire day polishing his skills.

On Monday, he took advantage of home conditionsto claim silver in men’s double trap at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup on Monday.

With the silver, India’s tally increased to two. On the opening day, rifle shooter Pooja Ghatkar had won bronze in the women’s 10m air rifle.

Read more | ISSF World Cup: Why India suffered a huge embarrassment at home

Meanwhile, in the mixed team 10m air pistol event, the Indian pair of Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai won the ‘gold badge’.

The mixed team event is making its debut in the World Cup and medals are not being awarded even though the ISSF executive committee has ratified the recommendations. Once the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gives its approval to the ISSF changes, the event will become ‘official’.

The recommendation to include the mixed gender event was given by the Abhinav Bindra-led ISSF athletes committee and the world governing body ratified the proposal.

Read more | China’s Lin Yuemei sets women’s air pistol world mark, Indians struggle on Day 3

India’s hero of the day was Ankur Mittal.

the six-shooter men’s double trap final, Ankur shot 74 out of a possible 80 to win silver, while Australian James Willett took gold with a total of 75. Sangram Dahiya, the other Indian in the final, finished sixth.

With a score of 137/150 , Ankur finished fourth going into the final, while Sangram was third at 138 points. The third Indian, Shapath Bharadwaj, scored 132, but couldn’t find a place in the final as Italian Alessandro Chianese was sixth at 137.

Read more | Hungarian rifle shooter Peter Sidi is against ‘boring’ mixed team events

It was a good opportunity for Sangram and Ankur, but the former wilted under pressure to bow out early in the final. Of the 80-shot final match, elimination started at 30.

Ankur was delighted to win a medal in front of the home crowd. “The podium finish will be a big morale booster. Since I’ve got a big break in the season’s first international competition, it shall add to my confidence when I compete in the upcoming events,” said the 25-year-old.

On missing gold, he said, wrong judgment cost him dearly. “The change in rules (earlier the final was of 50 shots, now it is 80), proved to be challenging.”

In the final, Ankur and Willett were tied at 57 after 60 shots. In the next series of 10 shots, Ankur missed two points, while the Australian was steady. At the end of 70 shots, Willett had 66 points compared to Ankur’s 64.

In the final 10 shots, Ankur was unable to catch up with his rival and settled for silver.

Double trap is one of the three events the ISSF is expected to scrap from the Olympic Games and will announce so shortly. The men’s 50m free pistol and 50m rifle prone are the other two events on the list.

Ankur was unhappy with the ISSF Policy. “My focus is on the Asian and Commonwealth Games next year and I will not think of winning a quota place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” he said.

Earlier, in the women’s 50m rifle three position, India’s Tejaswani Sawant entered the final but finished seventh. She shot 582 in the qualification round.

First Published: Feb 27, 2017 19:18 IST