After a productive run the past few days at the ISSF World Championship, India went without a medal on Monday, but there was cheer as Sift Kaur Samra bagged an Olympic quota in the women’s 50m rifle three positions.
After Sift’s effort, India have earned three quota spots in Baku — Akhil Sheoran in men’s 50m rflle three positions men and Mehuli Ghosh in women’s 10m air rifle.
In aggregate, India have six Olympic quota places so far. Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men’s trap), Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil (men’s 10m air rifle) and Swapnil Kusale (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions) are the other shooters who secured Paris Olympic quota places at last year’s World Championship.
Though Sift, 21, missed out on a medal, her fifth spot, with a score of 429.1 (589), is commendable as she entered the international stage just two years ago and the 2021 Lima World Championship was her first competition. At the Bhopal World Cup earlier this year, she came away with a bronze.
Sift’s rich form was evident as two weeks back she struck gold at the World University Games in Chengdu.
On bagging the quota in her first senior final, Sift said, “I’m really excited, it was a fun match.” There were times when Sift faced elimination, but she fought on. “It was a great experience as my kneeling position wasn’t great in qualification but I managed to end on a beautiful standing, so I am very proud of myself,” she said.
On the importance of the quota for the country, Sift said, “It means a lot for all of us as it is the first 50m quota (for women) for India.”
Only China and India were eligible for a quota each in the final as the other finalists Korea’s Eunseo Lee, Switzerland’s Nina Christen (Quota in 10m air rifle), Norway’s Jenny Stene, Poland’s Natalia Kochanska and USA’s Sagen Maddalena had already earned quota places elsewhere.
The other quota was bagged by Zhang Qiongyue of China, who won gold with 465.3 (590). This is a steep progress for the 19-year-old as it was a team bronze at the Cairo World Championship last year.
The silver went to Zhang’s teammate Han Jiayu with 463.5 (588), gold medallist and quota winner in 10m air rifle, and Tokyo Olympian Maddalena settled for bronze with 451.9 (587).
The other Indians in qualification were Ashi Chouksey, who finished 29th with a tally of 582 and Manini Kaushik was 40th with 580.
Germany’s Lisa Mueller 9th (587) and Yesugen Oyunbat 11th (587) of Mongolia did not qualify for the final, but won the other two quotas on offer.
India stays at the third spot on the medal tally with 4 gold and 3 bronze. China leads with 8 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze, followed by USA with 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.