Jitu & Heena clinch gold in mixed team 10m air pistol

I'm happy that I managed to concentrate at the right time, says Rai

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 25.10.17
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GOLDEN TOUCH: Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu with their medals on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi: India's campaign in the World Cup Finals (WCF) had a golden start at the Karni Singh shooting range, here on Tuesday.

Two of India's star shooters, Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu, paired up to dish out a fabulous performance and win the mixed team 10m air pistol gold medal.

This was not the first time Jitu and Heena joined hands to put India on the top. Twice before this year they won gold medals in mixed team events, but both were test events.

This is the first time the event has been granted official status by the sport's international governing body.

In a five-team final that turned out to be a touch and go affair, the Indian pair shot 483.4 to bag the gold ahead of France (481.1) and China (418.2). India have reasons to celebrate as the event has been included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In the final, Jitu shot 10.9 twice in his 15th and 17th individual shots to help India go ahead of France. In the end, the hosts prevailed by 2.3 points.

"It is a remarkable triumph," said Jitu after the event. "The new rules added to the nervousness to some extent, but we stuck to the basics to see through the day. I am happy that I managed to concentrate at the right time," added Jitu.

Heena said the gold medal was the result of good preparations for the past few days. "It took us some time to find our own rhythm. But once we were in final, things were smooth," she said.

In the qualification round, each shooter got 40 shots across four 10-shot series. Heena and Jitu shot a total of 767 out of 800 to lead five teams into the final. France (766), China (764), Ukraine (761) and Chinese Taipei (760) were the others to qualify.

It was also Heena's second WCF gold medal. She had won the individual 10m air pistol gold in the 2013 edition. Jitu had won a silver medal in the WCF in 2014 in the individual 50m pistol event.

In the mixed air rifle event, however, India were not so lucky. The pair of Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar finished fourth after being docked two points for breaching the rules.

China's Song Buhan and Wu Mingyang won the gold shooting 499.8 at the end of the 48-shot final. Silver went to the Serbian pair of Milutin Stefanovic and Andrea Arsovic, who shot a combined 496.8.

China's Team Two won the bronze after Sui Gengcheng and Shi Mengyao shot 430.3 to leave the Indian pair at the fourth place.

In mixed team trap event, Spain's Antonio Bailon and Beatrice Martinez won the gold, shooting 42 out of 50 in the final round.