Sensational Bhaker strikes ISSF World Cup Final gold

India’s pistol star Manu Bhaker clinched the top prize in the women's 10m Air Pistol after a dominant show at the World Cup Final

By Naveen Peter ·

India’s Manu Bhaker once again showed why she’s one of the best pistol shooters in the world as she clinched the nation's first gold medal at the ongoing ISSF World Cup Final in Putian, China on Thursday.

The Indian sensation, who won the gold in this category at the Munich, New Delhi and the Beijing World Cups this year, was in her elements as she shot a total of 244.7 to overpower the world record holder Zorana Arunović of Serbia to clinch the top prize.

High stakes

Just about making her way into the final with an eighth-place finish in the qualification round, Bhaker showed why she’s meant for the big occasion as she brought her best to the fore in the medal round.

India’s Manu Bhaker.

The Indian was quick to get into her elements as she shot a total of 50.4 in the first series to be placed third behind the world champion Wang Qian of China and Arunović. While Qian failed to build on the start, Bhaker and Arunović were in no mood to let the early momentum slip as both came up with a splendid second series where none of their shots left the inner 10s.

Sudden slip

While the Serb still enjoyed a point’s lead over Bhaker going into the elimination, the Indian was barely disturbed by it as she continued to find her target with precision. While Arunović faltered slightly, shooting 9.6 and 9.9 in the first elimination, Bhaker kept the pressure on the Serb with a 10.0 and a 9.9 in her attempt.

Things barely got better for the Serb as she responded to Bhaker’s 10.7 and 10.4 with a poor 9.6 and 9.7 to hand the Indian the lead. And that was all that the 17-year-old needed as she went on to maintain her calm and clinch her first World Cup Final gold and set a junior world record in the process.

Other Indians

While Bhaker stole the show with a fine show, the other Indian in the fray, Yashaswini Deswal had to be content with a sixth-place finish at the World Cup Final.

The 22-year-old who sealed an Olympic quota for the country at the Rio de Jenrio World Cup early this year was eliminated after she lost the fight to Chinese Taipei’s Chia Ying Wu in what was closely contested battle.

Meanwhile, in the men’s section, two of India’s top-ranked shooters Abhishek Verma and Saurabh Chaudhary didn’t enjoy the best of days as they bowed out of the competition with a fifth and sixth-place finish respectively.