24th June was the first day of the 2021 ISSF World Cup being held in Osijek, Croatia. As many as 4 finals were lined up, on day one. The roster read - 10m Air Rifle Men, 10m Air Rifle Women, 10m Air Pistol Women and 10m Air Pistol Men. The highlights of the day are as follows:
In the 10m Air Rifle Men event, the only Indian shooter to qualify in the final was Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar. He shot 628.0 in the qualification round. By virtue of that score, he secured the last berth for the final round. He finished in seventh spot in the final with a score of 143.9.
The other two Indians in the fray were Deepak Kumar & Divyansh Singh Panwar. Surprisingly, neither could make it to the medal round. They finished 14th and 25th, respectively. These two shooters will represent the nation in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
In the 10m Air Rifle Women event, no Indian shooter qualified for the final round. Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela all faltered in the preliminary round. World Number 1 - Elavenil Valarivan finished at a lowly 55th spot. Both Elavenil and Apurvi are yet to feature in any of the finals of the 2021 ISSF World Cup series.
Yashaswini Deswal and Manu Bhaker progressed to the final of the 10m Air Pistol Women event. They registered scores of 578 and 577, respectively in the qualification round. Even Rahi Sarnobat, who specializes in the 25m Sports Pistol, took part in this event. She shot 572 and thus missed out on the final.
None of the two Indian finalists pocketed the medals on offer. Yashaswini was the first to be eliminated in the final (8th position). Manu was the next one to bow out (7th position). Their respective scores were 117.1 and 137.3.
2021 ISSF World Cup - Saurabh Chaudhary wins India's only medal on day 1
In what was turning out to be a tough day for the Indians, Saurabh Chaudhary provided some much-needed joy. His bronze opened the Indian shooting team’s account. His qualification score was quite impressive. He shot 581 with as many as 27 inner 10s.
In the edge-of-the-seat final, he held his nerve to score 220.0. This is his second medal since the start of the year. He had won a silver medal in the 2021 ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. Chaudhary is currently ranked second in the world.
World No.1 Abhishek Verma was also vying for a podium finish in the same event. He shot an identical qualification score of 581 with 19 inner 10s. However, he ended up with 179.3 in the final to finish 5th.
Gurjoat Khangura is the only Indian shotgun shooter participating in the 2021 ISSF World Cup in Osijek, Croatia. He takes part in the skeet discipline. Khangura hit 70 targets out of the possible 75 (3 series). At the end of day’s play, he stands at the 52nd position. The remaining 2 series will be contested on the next day (Friday - 25th).
Medal prospects for India look brighter in the team events scheduled next. Except for the 10m Air Pistol Team Men category, all team events have the potential to fetch the Indian Shooting Team a medal. In the 10m Air Pistol Team Men category, the absence of a third shooter rules them out. Stay tuned for further updates for the on-going 2021 ISSF World Cup in Osijek, Croatia.