India’s Arjun Babuta stunned Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Lucas Kozeniesky of USA to win Gold in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle and open the country’s account in the ongoing ISSF World Cup here on Monday. In the gold medal clash, Arjun humbled USA’s Kozeniesky 17-9 in the gold medal contest.
This is 23-year-old Arjun’s maiden World Cup gold. He had bagged the junior gold at the 2016 Junior World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan.
Arjun was second in qualification with 630.5 and topped the second stage with 261.1 to make the gold contest.
Lucas shot 260.4 to join him even as qualification leader Sergey Richter of Israel settled for bronze with a score of 259.9. The American did not give up till the end but Arjun pulled out those big high 10s when it mattered most and finished clinically for a convincing score-line to help India open their account with the brightest medal possible.
Paarth Makhija also made the final with a qualification score of 628.4, but finished fourth, behind qualification topper Sergey Richter (631.6) of Israel.
The third Inaadian in the fray, Shahu Tushar Mane (624.4) finished 30th in a strong filed of 53 shooters.
This was foreign rifle coach Thomas Farnik’s maiden medal in his very first international assignment. The Austrian had been appointed to the job just ahead of the Changwon World Cup.
The Indian shooters faced disappointment in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle with none making the grade. Mehuli Ghosh came closest with a score of 628.7 to finish 11th in the field. She lost out on a qualifying spot by the narrowset possible margin of 0.1 point.
Senior debutant Ramita shot 627.4 to finish 17th while former World No.1 and Tokyo Olympian Elavenil Valarivan finished 24th with a score 626.3.
The gold was won by Lucie Brazdova of Czech Republic, silver was won by Roxana Sidi of Romania while Eszter Meszaros of Hungary.