Teenager Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar brings India’s record 13th Olympic quota place in shooting
18-year old teenager Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar made most of a fantastic purple patch, winning bronze in the Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions (3P) at the ongoing 14th Asian Shooting Championship in Qatar, in the process also bagging a record 13th Olympic quota place in Shooting for India.
India had won a best ever 12 quota places in the run-up to the previous Rio 2016 Games. They now have booked 13 berths for Tokyo 2020 and that has a high chance of going further up by the end of today or even later.
It was a huge effort however by the lad from Ratanpur village in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district on Sunday day six of the top continental championship at the Lusail Shooting Complex in Qatar.
This was Aishwary’s first stint at the senior level, having broken through with the help of a string of strong performances in the year. Most notable among them being a junior ISSF World Cup gold with a junior world record to boot. He carried on that form, winning at the junior level in Asia and then beating the likes of Sanjeev Rajput in domestic competitions to force himself into the senior team.
On Sunday in Qatar he shot 1168 in the 120-shot qualification round and never went outside the top eight.
It was a top quality final with a Chinese world number three and a Korean world number nine besides an experienced Yuri Yurkov of Kazakhstan and the in-form Mahyar Sedaghat of Iran who had made it to the Men’s 10m Air Rifle final as well in this competition earlier.
There were in-fact two Chinese in the final but they could not claim quotas as China had exhausted their maximum two in the event and the Korean Kim Jonghyun had also sealed his quota at the Munich World Cup earlier in the year.
That left shooters from Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Thailand besides Aishwary, fighting for the three available Tokyo berths.
Aishwary, used to big finals through the wonderful year that he is having, shot the final like he belonged forever, getting progressively stronger through the course of the 45-shot final.
His splits were 151.7 after the first 15 Kneeling position shots, 156.3 after the same number of shots in the Prone position, before finishing with 449.1 to claim bronze.
The Iranian and Kazakh claimed the other two finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
Aishwary also won the Team bronze in the event, combining with Chain Singh (1155) and Parul Kumar (1154).