Para shooters brought good news for India on Sunday as Rahul Jakhar and Deepak Saini won quota spots for the Tokyo Paralympics at the World Shooting Para Sport World Cup at Lima in Peru.
With this, the number of quota places won by Indian para shooters for the upcoming Games went up to eight. Manish Narwal, Singhraj, Deepender Singh, Avani Lekhara, Swaroop Mahavir Unhalkar and Sidhartha Babu had earlier secured quota berths.
It was a memorable day for Rahul as he won gold in Mixed 25m Pistol SH1. The silver went to South Korea’s Kim Younmi and Xiao Gong of USA settled for bronze.
Rahul later combined with Pooja Agarwal and Aurodh Panwar for silver in 25m Pistol Mixed Team. A resident of Gurgaon, Rahul owes his career to elder brother Rajesh and has a history of strong results at international competitions.
At the 2019 Para World Cup in Osijek, Croatia, Rahul won gold in Men’s 10 Air Pistol with a world record of 240.1. Manish Narwal came second with 236.7, which bettered his junior final world record of 236.6. At the 2018 Cheongju World Shooting Para Sport Championship, Rahul had finished 7th in Team P4, Mixed 50m Pistol SH1.
The hugely experienced Sriharsha Devaraddi, who was a part of the Indian Tigers at the Online Shooting League (OSL) last year, won a bronze in 10m Air Rifle Standing R4. The gold went to Italy’s Andrea Liverani and was followed by Kevin Loit of France.
Deepak could not find the podium in 50m Rifle Three Positions SH1, but the fourth place was good enough to get him a quota spot. Ukraine made it 1-2 in the event with Andrii Doroshenko claiming gold followed by Yurii Stoiev. The bronze was won by Doron Shaziri of Israel.
Deepak’s show is an extension of his show at the 2018 Cheongju World Shooting Para Sport Championship where he finished sixth in the Team R6, Mixed 50m Prone SH1.
A resident of Ambala, Deepak was also a part of the 2016 Rio Paralympics and has won gold at various editions of the National Para Shooting Championships and has been honoured by the Haryana Government.
The results left JP Nautiyal, Chairperson, Sports Technical Committee (STC) – Shooting, Paralymic Committee of India, in a happy frame of mind. “I am happy with the scores they achieved and performed despite lack of practice due to COVID-19. I am expecting two more quotas, will make it 10,” he said.