ISSF Shooting World Cup: Anish, Neeraj in line for Rapid Fire Pistol Final as India look to maintain pole position in Mexico
The Indian teenage brigade competing at the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage in Guadalajara, Mexico, continued to impress as 15-year old Anish Bhanwala stood third after the first qualifying round of the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, sandwiched by all three Rio 2016 Olympic medalists, brightening up his chances of making it to the final in this his debut Senior World Cup.
Anish, who recently equaled the world record in the event in the National trials, shot 294 out of 300 in the precision stage, to lie behind China’s Rio Bronze medalist Yuehong Li, who shot the same score to be in second place and France’s Clement Bessaguet, last year’s New Delhi World Cup Finals Silver medalist, who shot 295 to be on top of the qualifying ladder.
Also in line for a finals berth was Anish’s senior teammate Neeraj Kumar, who shot 291 to lie in sixth place. The top six in the event at the end of the two qualifying stages, the precision stage and the rapid-fire stage, make it to the medal round. The Rapid Fire stage and the finals are slated for Thursday, March 8. Lying fourth and fifth at this stage were Rio Gold and Silver medalists Christian Reitz of Germany (292) and Jean Quiquampoix of France (292).
Anish’s performance comes in the wake of impressive performances earlier in the competition by teenagers Manu Bhaker and Mehuli Ghosh in the Women’s Pistol and Rifle events, where they won two Gold and two bronze medals between themselves.
In the only final scheduled on Wednesday, day five of competitions, the Finnish pair of Satu Makela-Nummela and Vesa Tornroos won the Trap Mixed Team Gold medal. The only Indian pair competing, that of Kynan Chenai and Seema Tomar shot a combined 132 to finish 14th in the event.
Besides the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol final, day six also has the Women’s Rifle 3 Positions final scheduled where the experienced Tejaswini Sawant, Anjum Moudgil and N. Gaayathri will carry Indian hopes.
India are in the midst of their best ever ISSF World Cup campaign, sitting on top of the medals tally with three Gold and four Bronze medals.