India finished the prestigious Shooting World Cup Finals held in Gabala, Azerbaijan without a medal. There were five Indian contenders that took part – Ayonika Paul, Jitu Rai, Gagan Narang, Heena Sidhu and Manavjit Singh Sandhu.
Key Indian Results at Shooting World Cup Final
Among the pistol shooters, Jitu Rai finished 4th in Men’s 50m Pistol and 5th in Men’s 10m Air Pistol. Ayonika Paul ended in 4th place in Women’s 10m Air Rifle, Gagan Narang finished in 5th place in Men’s 50m Rifle Prone. Heena Sidhu finished 9th in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol . Manavjit Singh Sandhu had a heartbreak in the final as he missed a medal by a whisker and had to be content with a fourth position in trap shooting. Below are the detailed results of each Indian shooter
Ayonika Paul (10m air rifle women)
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ayonika has displayed good form throughout the year. The 22-year-old caught everyone’s attention by winning the bronze medal in Maribor World Cup and also made it to the World Championship final.
At the World Cup finals, she maintained the same consistency to finish second in the qualification stage with a score of 418.2.
In a very competitive final, she was placed 6th before the elimination rounds began. Ayonika, however, clawed her way back into the top 3 with high scores of 10.5 and 10.8. But Chinese Wu Liuxi came back stronger to post scores of 10.7 and 10.8 which helped her open up a 0.6 gap between the Indian and the Chinese.
Even though Paul responded with 10.7 and 10.5, Liuxi pipped her to the post with 10.5 and 10.4 that saw Ayonika getting eliminated to the fourth place by a mere margin of 0.3. Her final score was 165.7.
Gold: Yi Siling (China) 207.7 (417.4); Silver: Andrea Arsovic (Serbia) 207.4 (418.0); Bronze: Wu Liuxi (China) 185.6 (418.0)
Heena Sidhu (10m air pistol women)
Heena Sidhu’s has been off-colour this season after winning a gold in the Asian Shooting Championship in March. Her performances have dipped since then and she finished both the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games without a medal.
Heena, though, looked determined to finish on a high as she began the qualification round with a 96 in the first series. It put her in joint lead. But a very poor score of 91 in the second series ultimately cost her a chance to be in the final.
Heena did do some damage control with another 96 in the penultimate series but she was derailed due to a score of 93 in the fourth series.
Sidhu eventually finished 9th in the qualification round with a score of 376. She just missed out on the top 8 and a chance to be in the final.
Gold: Alejandra Zavala (Mexico) 201.5; Silver: Kaludia Bres (Poland) 200.6; Bronze: Celine Goberville (France) 176.2
Jitu Rai (10m air pistol men and 50m pistol men)
It has been a memorable season for India’s top pistol shooter Jitu Rai. After a long season that saw him win seven international medals for India including the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold, he was understandably tired. It got reflected in his inconsistent scores in both the 50m and 10m air pistol finals where he went very close to getting the medals but ultimately finished empty-handed.
10m air pistol men
With three scores of 98, Jitu Rai qualified in the third place for the final. But his inconsistency in the final robbed him an opportunity to add to his medal haul.
Jitu began with a 9.8 and even though he made up with 10.5 and 10.4 in his next shots, he kept on sprinkling 8s and 9s in between his 10s and ultimately the low scores led to him missing the medal. Rai was placed tied 6th at one point where he avoided elimination. With high scores of 10.6 and 10.5 he managed to dodge the next elimination round and still remain in contention. But with a poor score of 9.4 in the subsequent knockout round, Jitu Rai ended 5th. His final score was 137.4.
Gold: Sergey Chervyakovskiy (Russia) 200.4; Silver: Pablo Carrera (Spain) 199.9; Bronze: Pang Wei (China) 177.4
50m pistol men
In the 50m air pistol, Jitu Rai qualified for the final in the 5th place. But he found it hard to adjust with the tough conditions in the final and failed to pick up a medal in the prestigious event for the second day in a row.
He began well with 10s but his scores unfortunately plummeted to 8s in the subsequent shots. Jitu survived a 6th place elimination and with three consecutive 10s he was just 0.7 off the top 3. But again a poor score of 9.4 and 8.1 let him down as he finished in the 4th place. His final score was 150.7.
Gold: Wang Zhiwei (China)195.8; Silver: Tomoyuki Matsuda (Japan) 194.8; Bronze: Pang Wei (China) 170.1
Gagan Narang (50m rifle prone men)
India’s legendary rifle marksman Gagan Narang had won the silver medal in this category at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year. In the World Cup Finals he qualified for the finals in the fourth place.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist made a bright start with 10.6 and 10.4. After a 9.9 he climbed back to the third place with superb scores of 10.5, 10.7 and 10.8. But a couple of 9.9s later on didn’t help his cause as he went out of medal contention and ended in 5th place. His final score was 144.7.
Gold: Daniel Brodmeier (Germany) 210.5; Silver: Zhao Shengbo (China) 208.5; Bronze: Henri Junghaenel (Germany) 187.9
Manavjit Singh Sandhu (Men’s Trap)
India’s marquee trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu began the year well by winning the World Cup in Tucson. He also clinched a bronze medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games this year.
But it was a heartbreaking finish for the former World No. 1 in the World Cup Finals as he missed a medal by a whisker.
Sandhu posted a score of 123 to finish third in the qualification round. At the completion of the semi-finals, there were four shooters each of whom had scored 15 – Giovanni Pellielo, Massimo Fabbrizi, Alberto Fernandez and Sandhu himself.
Unfortunately there was a blip in performance from the Indian when he missed the 9th target. Thus he had to fight for the bronze with Alberto Fernandez. In the bronze medal playoff, Fernandez edged past Sandhu 15-14 to finish third.
Gold: Massimo Fabbrizi (Italy) 14 (19 in shoot-off); Silver: Giovanni Pellielo (Italy) 14 (18 in shoot-off); Bronze: Alberto Fernandez (Spain)
So while India displayed their depth in talent, a few of our shooting stars were unlucky not to get a medal. Hopefully the trip will be a good learning experience for the likes of Jitu Rai, who had been winning consistently this season. It will be interesting to see how Jitu Rai responds after this minor setback at the Shooting World Cup Finals.