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ISSF World Cup shooting: Heena Sidhu, Jitu Rai give India golden start

On day 1 of the ISSF World Cup shooting competition in Delhi, India made a golden start via Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu

other sports Updated: Oct 24, 2017 16:28 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
shooting,ISSF World Cup shooting,India
India's Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai (right) display their medals after winning the mixed team 10m Air Pistol event of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI)

It was a golden start for the Indian contingent as ace pistol shooter Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai combined well to win first gold medal of the ISSF World Cup final that got under way here at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges on Tuesday.

In the five teams final, the Indian pair of Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai shot 483.4 to win title in the 10m air pistol mixed team event. The silver went to France (481.1) and China took bronze (418.2).

After the first series of five shots, the Indian pair was trailing at third spot with France leading the field followed by China. The position remained the same after the second series, but Heena and Rai worked their way up in the third series , taking second position behind France.

Thereafter, it was battle between hosts India and France. When the race for title began, India had an edge over France. Indian team score was 424.4 while France score was 421.6.

In the last six shots, which decided the winner, Heena and Rai remained focused to win first gold of the day.

Elated after winning the gold, Heena Sidhu said, the result will encourage others to keep the momentum going.

“It was challenging but we remained focused throughout the final,” said Heena, adding: “He (Rai) doesn’t wilt under pressure or experiment after a bad shot. That’s the best part. To shoot in a rhythm is important and we as a team managed that.’’

Nervous start

Earlier in the qualification, favourites Heena and Rai had a nervous start and took time to settle down in the 40 shots match.

Heena Sidhu started with a series of 94/100, followed by a series of 96, 95 and shot 97 in the fourth and last series for a total of 382. Rai too managed to stay calm under pressure and had a series of 97, 96, 95 and 97 for a total of 385.

Rai started the last series of 10 shots when he had just ten minutes left to complete the match. However, he didn’t wilt under pressure and scored five ten shots in a row to take his score to 97.

Jeetu Rai said that although he got just a day to practice according to the new rules, he managed to stick to basics.

“I take time to settle down. And try to stick to a rhythm even if it takes time,’’ he told Hindustan Times after the final.

Mixed luck

Although Heena and Rai gave India a perfect start, the pair of Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar weren’t able to carry forward the good work during the final of the 10m air rifle mixed team event.

Deepak and Meghana qualified as the fourth position, top five go to final, but in the final, Deepak Kumar lost his rhythm during the second five-shot series and that hurt India’s chance of a second medal.

As per rule of the event, the team members have to shoot in a sequence, first female member and then male, but due to communication gap Kumar wasn’t able to follow that rhythm and a two-point penalty was imposed at the end of ten-shot.

Deepak Kumar and Meghana finished fourth with a total of 387.4. China (No. 1 team) won gold with 499.8, Serbia (496.8) settled for silver and China’s number 2 team (430.3) got bronze.

The mixed trap title went to Spanish team of Beatriz Martinez and Antonio Bailon. The duo scored 42 out of possible 50 targets. The Italian team of Jessica Rossi and Giovanni Pellielo took home silver with 40 points, while Derek Haldeman and Ashley Carroll won bronze, scoring 31 points.

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 12:32 IST