After Thursday’s disappointing opening, India bounced back with gold in 10m air pistol mixed team at the ISSF World Championship.
Friday’s heroes in Baku were Esha Singh and Shiva Narwal who outgunned Turkey’s 50-year-old Olympian Yusuf Dikec and Ilayda Sevval Tarhan 16-10 in the gold-medal match. Courtesy the gold, on the back of Thursday’s bronze, India climbed to third in the medals tally behind China (5 gold, 2 bronze) and USA (1 gold, 1 silver).
The Indian duo’s supremacy was an extension of the top show in qualification where Esha (290) and Shiva (293), with an aggregate of 583, finished ahead of the Turkish pair, Yusuf shooting 294 and Ilayda 287 for an aggregate of 581.
The Chinese team of Zhang Bowen (286) and Jiang Ranxin (294) with an aggregate of 580, and Iran, comprising Haniyeh Rostamiyan (291) and Sajad Poorhosseini (289) with an aggregate of 580 were the other two qualifiers.
The other Indian team of Divya TS (286) and Sarabjot Singh (288) aggregated 574 to finish a disappointing 22nd in qualification.
Zhang and Jiang added bronze to their individual gold medals on Thursday by beating Iran’s Sajad Poorhooseini and Haniyeh Rostamiyan 17-7.
At 17, Shiva added to his junior team gold in men’s 10m air pistol at the 2021 Lima World Chmapionship while Esha, a year older, pocketed her fourth gold but a first in the senior category at the World Championship. Her earlier feats came at 2022 Cairo World Championship in junior 10m air pistol mixed team, junior 10m air pistol team and junior 25m pistol. There is also a bronze in her name in junior 25m pistol team.
Esha was among medals at Lima World Championship too in 2021, claiming silver in junior 50m pistol and junior 10m air pistol.
An elated Esha said, “I feel very grateful, and I liked the layout of the Baku Range.” Asked how much time they had to practice together, Esha said they had put in a lot of hard work and gave credit to the coaches and her parents back home for supporting her.
Feeling “confident”, Shiva said keeping it simple and following the routine worked for him.
That was it as far as the good news was concerned as the 10m air rifle mixed team and women skeet shooters disappointed despite the presence of some heavyweight names.
In the women’s 10m air rifle, Mehuli Ghosh (316) and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (314.2) regsitered a total of 630.2 to finish 9th.
The other Indian team of Divyansh Singh Panwar (314.6) and Ramita (313.7) aggregated 628.3 to finish 17th.
The top-4 teams to qualify for the final which was led by the Chinese duo of World No.5 Huang Yuting, a two-time gold medallist at the 2022 Cairo World Championship, and Lihao Sheng, silver medallist at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, with a total of 632.7.
The gold-medal match turned out to be a no-content with the Chinese outsmarting Iran’s Shermineh Chehel and Mohammad Nekounam 16-2.
The French team of Oceanne Muller and Romain Aufrere beat Israel’s Olga Tashtchiev and Sergey Richter 17-9 to settle for bronze.
In women’s skeet, Parinaaz Dhaliwal (118) 19th, Ganemat Sekhon (118) 21st and Darshna Rathore (115) 38th finished way outside the qualification mark.
The qualification was topped by World No.1 Danka Bartekova (123) of Slovakia, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, maintained her supremacy in the final, winning in a shoot-off with World No.2 Dania Vizzi of USA, the gold medallist in 2017 Moscow World Championship, after they two finished at 54. The bronze went to World No.6 Emmanouela Katzouraki of Greece, who shot 43.
“For me it’s a dream day. I’m really excited about how it ended and I have to say, it took me 25 years to get this title so yes, finally, it’s done.” said Danka.
Danka and Emmanouela also won a quota place for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games along with Francisca Crovetto Chadid of Chile and Sena Can of Turkey.