Indian shooters won two medals on day three of the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, after 17-year-old Esha Singh won silver in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol following Olympian Saurabh Chaudhary’s gold in the Men’s event earlier in the day.
The 19-year-old Saurabh, who registered the third best qualification score of 584, beat Michael Schwald of Germany 16-6 in the gold medal match.
The bronze was bagged by Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Artem Chernousov of Russia, whose country’s name and flag was removed from the scoreboard because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Artem shot the best qualification score of 591 in a field of 92 shooters.
Saurabh, who won gold at the 2018 Asian Games, registered the third best qualification score of 584.
This was Saurabh’s third individual World Cup gold and first in the new format.
In the first semifinal Saurabh made it to the medal round along with Artem for company as both notched up 38 points to eliminate Robin Walter of Germany first and then Emis Vasermanis of Latvia.
Schwald and Azerbaijan’s Ruslan Lunev were the other two shooters to make it to the medal round from the second semifinal.
In the medal round, Sarabh topped the four-man field after 15 shots with a score of 42.5 points.
Schwald joined the Indian with 41.5 points while Chernousov had to be satisfied with bronze, finishing with 40. Lunev finished fourth, bowing out after 10 shots with a score of 21.
In the final, Saurabh needed just 11 single shots including shots of 10.5, 10.8 and 10.6 in the last three of his four attempts to seal the deal in his favour.
In Women’s 10m Air Pistol, Esha went down to reigning World Champion and World No.1 Anna Korakaki of Greece, by a margin of 4-16 in the gold medal match.
After winning multiple ISSF medals in the junior ranks for a few years, this was Esha Singh’s first medal in the India senior colours.
In a strong field of 80 shooters including the top two at Tokyo 2020 besides Korakaki, Esha shot a solid 578 to finish sixth in the qualification to make it to the second semifinals. Here she trumped Korakaki along with the likes of Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Vitalina Batsarashkina of Russia to top the round with 41.5 points and sail through to the medal round. Korakaki followed her there with 40.
In the medal round, Esha met no less than Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Antoaneta Kostadinova of Bulgaria and Sandra Reitz of Germany, who had made it from the first semifinals. They remained relentless, shooting just three scores in the 9s out of 12-shots. Korakaki topping the field with 37 points as Esha too deservedly earned her gold medal match spot with 35.5 points. The Olympic Champion had to settle for bronze, finishing with 26.5 points.
Esha kept up with the World Champion for the first five shots of the final with the score reading 4-6, but Korakaki stamped her class in the end racing through the next five with consistent high inner 10s, reaching the required 16 points to close out the match.