Jitu Rai breaks CWG record to win gold; silver for Mehuli Ghosh in women’s 10m air rifle
Indian shooters had another good day at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, winning a gold, silver and two bronze medals from the shooting range in Gold Coast on Monday. (CWG live updates)
Seasoned pistol shooter Jitu Rai won the gold medal, storming ahead from fourth position in the preliminary round, overtaking compatriot Om Prakash Mitharval, who had equalled the CWG Record of 584 during the qualifying round.
Rai shifted gears in the final, took over the lead after the second series of five shots and built such a lead that he did not have to look back over his shoulders, even when Australia’s Kerry Bell charged in from seventh spot to second. Shooting 10s consistently, Rai took a big lead and maintained the upper hand to claim gold with a score of 235.1. Bell finished second at 233.5. Mitharval, who had slipped down the order, came back strongly to win bronze, his first at the Commonwealth Games.
Mehuli wins silver
Rifle shooters Mehuli Ghosh and Apurvi Chandela, the gold medallist in Glasgow 2014, bagged the silver and bronze respectively in the women’s 10m air rifle competition.
Mehuli shot 10.9 with her final shot to tie scores at 247.2 with Singapore’s Martina Lindsay Veloso, forcing a shootout. However, in the one-shot shootout, the Indian could manage only 9.9 as against 10.3 by her rival from Singapore.
It was high-class shooting by all three shooters and there was not much separating them. Veloso shot a number of 10s in the initial rounds that helped her once she took over the lead from Apurvi, who had set a new Games Record in the qualifying round.
Meanwhile Smit Singh, who was competing in the skeet final on Monday, failed to make an impression, He finished sixth and last in the final round.
Jitu Rai’s big day
It was a day on which Jitu Rai could not be denied his shot at glory. The silver medallist in the 10m air pistol event in Glasgow for years back, did one better to clinch gold.
The Indian shooter had finished second behind Daniel Repacholi of Australia four years back, but this time he did enough in the initial rounds to ensure that no one dislodged him from the top spot even though he shot couple of 8.4s.
Rai had a disappointing show in the Summer Olympics in Rio where he finished outside the medal bracket after an up and down show.
He has done well building up to the Rio Games, winning medals in World Cup and other international tournaments regularly. But Rio was a disappointment, and, as another Olympics approach, Rai is getting ready for the medal that eluded him in Brazil.
The 2014 Asian Games winner had gone through a tough period recently but seems to have got his focus back. He showed that with a superb performance on Monday. “I just concentrated on my performance did not bother much when I shot couple of bad shots in the final, and kept my focus: said Rai.
He wants to now concentrate on upcoming World Cup events and build moments for the Asian Games. Defending his title in the continental event is his next target.