Deepak Kumar celebrated his birthday in style, gifting himself and his country a perfect present by winning bronze in the 10m Air Rifle event and in the process a 10th 2020 Olympics quota place while Manu Bhaker clinched gold in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol on the opening day of the 14th Asian Shooting Championship (ASC) at the Lusail Shooting Complex in Lusail, Qatar, on Tuesday.
Later, the Junior Trap Mixed team pairing of Vivaan Kapoor and Manisha Keer won another gold as India rounded up the day with five medals in the kitty.
Asian Games silver medalist Deepak, 32, finally broke through in his third final of this present Olympic quota cycle, both a medal and a quota place having eluded him on two previous occasions, first at the Changwon World Championship in 2018 and then in the Rio ISSF World Cup stage earlier this year.
Deepak, who has been the most consistent performer in the country in 10m Air Rifle over the past three years, shot a steady 626.8 to finish third in qualification, before finishing behind two Chinese shooters in the final to book bag the quota place and the medal.
Yukun Liu won gold with an effort of 250.5 in the eight-man final while compatriot Haonan Yu won silver with 249.1. Deepak finished with 227.8 to bag the third spot after beginning the final on a tentative note.
Five finalists were eligible to win three available quota places and Deepak gave the Indian camp some nervous moments placing 6th after the first five shots of the 24-shot final. A brilliant second series saw him rise to second, from where he never looked back.
Manu Bhaker, who has already won the quota place in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol, clinched gold with a dominating performance.
Both Indian quota winners in the event, Manu and Yashaswini Singh Deswal made it to the eight-women finals; Manu topped the qualification with a solid 584 and, save a brief moment in the finals, shot confidently and solidly throughout to take out the reigning Asian Games champion from China Wang Qian, by more than 1.5 points in the end equation.
Manu finished with 244.3 while Wang won silver with 242.8. Yashaswini shot 578 to qualify fourth and was eliminated in sixth place in the final on a score of 157.4.
The third Indian in the field, Annu Raj Singh shot 569 for a 20th place finish/ However the trio claimed the team bronze with a total of 1731, behind Korea and China, who won gold and silver, respectively.
The only finalist to claim a quota in this event was Iran while North Korean and Japanese shooters bagged the other available Tokyo quotas, finishing ninth and even as far back as eleventh.
In the day’s final medal, Vivaan Kapoor and Manisha Keer of India defeated China’s Ting Zhang and Pengyu Chen 34-29 in the gold medal match, for India’s second gold of the day. The Chinese pair had earlier qualified with a record score in qualification. A second Chinese team won bronze beating Lebanon in the bronze-medal match.
In the Women’s 10m Air Rifle, the Indian trio of Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela won the team silver with a combined effort of 1883.2, finishing behind team Korea who totaled 1891.7. Iran won bronze.
Elavenil also made it through to the individual final, placing fifth eventually with a score of 187.1. She had earlier shot a solid 629 in qualification to make it to the finals in fourth place.
Anjum Moudgil missed making the finals narrowly, finishing ninth with a score of 627.6 while Apurvi Chandela finished 12thwith 626.6.
India has bagged the two possible Olympic quotas in this event through Apurvi and Anjum in earlier competitions. Mehuli Ghosh, shooting in the non-competition MQS section, also returned a creditable score of 628.6.
Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (After round one of qualification)
Anish Bhanwala (India)- placed sixth after precision round with 288
Bhavesh Shekhawat (India)- 15th with 287
Adarsh Singh (India)- 17thwith 285
Men’s Trap (After round one of qualification)
Kynan Chenai- third with a score of 73 out of 75
Manavjit Singh Sandhu- fifth with 71
Prithviraj Tondaiman- eighth with 71
Women’s Trap (After round one of qualification)
Shreyasi Singh- fifth with a score of 70
Kirti Gupta- 32nd with 66
Rajeshwari Kumari- 22nd with 64
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