India’s shooters had plenty to celebrate on the opening day of the 14th Asian Shooting Championships in Doha, Qatar as Deepak Kumar won a bronze medal in the 10m men’s Air Rifle, winning a quota place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while Manu Bhaker clinched gold in the women’s 10m Air Pistol final.
Deepak started off with a score of 103.1 in the first round of qualification and gradually bettered his performance in subsequent rounds, managing scores of 104.8, 104.6, 105.0, 105.6 to put himself in a commanding position. The Indian suffered a slight blip in the final qualification round, scoring 103.7, but that did not hamper his chances for a place in the final as he finished the qualification round in third place.
India’s other rifle shooters -- Ankush Jadhav and Yash Vardhan -- could not make it past the qualification round as they finished 14th and 30th respectively.
Deepak continued his fine showing in the final as well, as he got a score of 227.8 to win a bronze medal in the Asian Championships. Chinese shooters Liu Yukun and Yu Haonan won gold and silver medals respectively.
Alongside his bronze, Deepak also earned India’s 10th Olympic quota and ensured the maximum participation for the nation in the 10m Air Rifle category for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Gold for Bhaker
There was further cause to celebrate for India’s shooting contingent as teenage sensation Bhaker clinched her first Asian Championships gold medal.
The 17-year-old showed great composure and focus to lead the charts after the qualification round, with scores of 97, 97, 99, 96, 96, 99 to end with a tally of 584. Yashaswini Deswal, who bagged a quota place at the ISSF Rio World Cup, also made it to the final with a score of 578.
While Deswal struggled to repeat that consistency in the final, ultimately finishing sixth, Bhaker was unstoppable. The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist got a score of 244.3 in the final to finish with the yellow metal in Doha.
Valarivan finishes fifth
In the women’s 10m Air Rifle, it was a below-par showing by the Indian shooters with Elavenil Valarivan finishing fifth.
Despite having three shooters in the top ten, India’s participants struggled at the Asian Championships with Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela finishing in ninth and 12th respectively and were unable to make it past the qualification round.
Valarivan finished in fourth place after the qualification round, with a score of 629. In the final, though, the youngster struggled to maintain that consistency as she finished in fifth place with a score of 187.1. China’s Yang Qian won the gold while Singapore’s Tessa Neo bagged the silver medal.