World Cup: Pistol shooters shine as India top table

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Four gold, two silver and one bronze. It seems like some of the Indian shooters are purring again.

Taking part in their first World Cup since the Tokyo Olympics debacle, shooters from the country were regular podium climbers in Cairo.

On Monday, during the last event on the final day of the meet, it was the combination of Rhythm Sangwan and Anish Bhanwala who stepped up to cap off a good week or so for the Indian contingent.

The youngsters were too strong for their rivals (Chawisa Paduka and Ram Khamaeng of Thailand) in the gold medal match.

With a tally of seven medals, India finished on top of the medal standings ahead of Norway and France, who ended up second and third, respectively.

However, that table does not reveal the entire story. Out of seven medals, six were won by pistol shooters.

Saurabh Chaudhary continues to be a high-performer. Esha Singh showed she can thrive at the elite level, winning an individual silver and two team gold medals. Anish and Rhythm also won two medals each.

While the pistol contingent thrived, rifle shooters could only manage a bronze medal (an under par overall outcome given their high ambitions).  

It should also be noted that some of the elite shooters from countries like China, Russia (banned after a day or two into the competition) were missing. Shooters from China and Russia accounted for 19 medals in the Tokyo Olympics.

The fact that pistol shooters thrived despite the absence of Manu Bhaker, an outstanding performer in the discipline for India in recent years, is a good sign going forward. That only shows India’s bench strength. 

Rifle shooters, on the other hand, will have plenty to mull. Shreya Agrawal was unlucky during the qualification stage of the women’s 10m air rifle event. Former World No 1 Divyansh Singh Panwar finished a lowly 25th in the men’s event. 

Given the event was being held under a new format and also include the fact that the shooters have barely had proper training (aside from the national camp that was held just before the event), it will be harsh to make a judgment on them.

The good news for the bunch is this is just the first event of the season and they’ve enough time in hand to get back to winning ways. 

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