Rahi Sarnobat created history by becoming India’s first woman shooter to win an Asiad gold.
The 27-year-old Rahi achieved the rare feat by winning the gold medal in women’s 25m pistol at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia.
Rahi held her nerve to pip Thailand’s Naphaswan Yangpaiboon after both were tied at a score of 34/50 which is a Games record, taking the finals to a shoot-off to decide the gold.
Both Rahi and Yangpaiboon registered 4 hits out of 5 in the shoot-off, leading to another shoot-off where Rahi hit 3 and the Thai only managed 2, ensuring a historic gold for the Indian. The bronze was won by Korea’s Kim Minjung with 29/45.
Teen sensation Manu Bhaker topped the qualifying round with a brilliant score of 593/600 to set the qualification Games record. The 16-year-old Manu was however not at her best in the final as she shot 16/30 to be eliminated on the 6th position.
In the qualification, Rahi shot 580, 13 points less than Manu, but it was still good enough to make the cut for the final.
Rahi, who had become India’s first pistol shooter to win a gold in the ISSF World Cup in 2013, had suffered a serious elbow injury last year which kept her out of competition for a year. Realising that she needed a tweak in her technique, Rahi roped in Munkhbayar Dorjsuren, a two-time World champion and Olympic medallist from Germany.
“I had to change her technique and I also worked on her a lot on the mental aspect of the game. She was already a high-level shooter and needed some tweak in her game. It was a close final but I had prepared her for the shoot-off,” said Munkhbayar.
Rahi had won a silver and a pairs gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She had also won a team bronze at the 2014 Asian Games.
Women’s 25m Pistol: 1. Rahi Sarnobat 34+3 (580); 2. Naphaswan Yangpaiboon (Thailand) 34+2 (585); 3. Minjung Kim (Korea) 29 (585); 6. Manu Bhaker (India) 16 (593).
Congratulations @SarnobatRahi for winning the Gold Medal in the Women’s 25m Air Pistol event at the @asiangames2018.
A special moment for you, for Maharashtra and for all of India! Keep it up. You do us proud #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 22, 2018