Bhopal : Sarabjot Singh gave India a dream start at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol, demolishing Ruslan Lunev of Azerbaijan 16-0 in the gold medal match of the men’s 10m Air Pistol here on Wednesday.
Sarbjot’s compatriot Varun Tomar won bronze in the event on the opening day. This was the 19-year-old’s second medal this year at the ISSF World Cup, having won the bronze in Cairo earlier this year, his first-ever senior World Cup medal.
Sarabjot, however, was the toast of the day, dishing out a dominating performance in his very first senior World Cup final, held at the newly inaugurated Finals Hall at the MP Shooting Academy range.
It was a pillar-to-post finish for the 21-year-old pistol shooter, as he first topped the 60-shot qualification round among the 24 medals with a score of 585. In the 25-shot top eight ranking round, he topped again with a score of 253.2 before going on to register probably the first-ever blank-out of an opponent in an ISSF World Cup stage gold medal match.
To put the icing on the cake, he shot a perfect 10.9 for his final shot to win his first-ever ISSF World Cup medal in some style. While Sarabjot was among the top three throughout the course of the ranking round, compatriot Varun Tomar had a blow-hot blow-cold final and even as at one stage it looked like it would be an all-India gold medal match, but he finished with a score of 250.3 to settle for the bronze.
Sumit Raman, the third Indian in the field, shot 577 to finish 10th among medal contenders. In the women’s 10m air pistol event, Divya Thadigol Subbaraju finished fifth with a total score of 197.1, after finishing third in the qualifications with 579.
Two other Indians in the fray, Rhythm Sangwan and Manu Bhaker, shot scores of 572 and 568 in qualification to finish 10th and 12th among medal contenders respectively. Esha Singh and Yashaswini Singh Deswal, competing under RPO in the qualifications shot 576 and 574 respectively.
After losing out on a medal in the men’s event, Chinese women shooters have made the job done, Li Xue defeated two-time world championship medallist Doreen Veenekamp of Germany 17-5 in the gold medal match.
Qian Wei ensured that they picked up two of the three medals on offer by finishing the ranking round in third place with a score of 250.2. China and hosts India ended competition day one with an identical medal tally of one gold and a bronze.