Youngster Elavenil Valarivan of India won her maiden ISSF World Cup title with a fine show in the 10m Air Rifle final at the fifth and the final World Cup of the year in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
Training under the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang, Valarivan produced a top-quality show in the final as she managed 251.7 points to take the top honours.
Great Britain’s Seonaid McIntosh (250.6) took the silver while Ying-Shin Lin of Chinese Taipei (229.9) completed the podium. A third-place finish also helped Lin to seal a quota place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Qualifying in fourth place for the final, Valarivan ensured that she was in the mix for a medal from the beginning. She managed a score of 52.2 after the first series of five shots, but it was in the second series that she picked up the pace and took the second spot with 104.9 to her name.
While McIntosh kept the pressure on the Indian with some quality shooting from her end, Valarivan kept her composure to take a slender lead 0.4-point at the end of the fifth series.
From there was it was all about maintaining pole position, and the 20-year-old did that to perfection as she barely had a shot below 10.5 to take the gold.
Loss of momentum
Meanwhile, the other Indian in the final, Anjum Moudgil had to be content with the sixth spot after some poor shooting the second series in the final saw her lose her early momentum and finish with 166.8 points.
Moudgil had qualified for the final as the sixth-best shooter after series of 104.8, 104.7, 104.4, 104.6, 105.8 and 104.8 in the qualification round.
The third Indian in the competition, Apruvi Chandela, narrowly missed out the qualification and finished 11th in the qualification round.
India has already secured the maximum quota of two places for Tokyo 2020 in this event.
Now with Valarivan trumping her senior compatriots Moudgil and Chandela on Wednesday, the Indian camp has a happy headache in the 10-m Air Rifle category.