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    Olympic quota and silver, Maheshwari Chauhan makes it a double joy in Doha

    By indianshooting.com
    Maheshwari Chauhan at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship in Doha, Qatar.

    Maheshwari Chauhan won India’s 21st Olympic quota for Paris in style, shooting a national record in qualification en-route silver in women’s skeet at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship in Doha on Sunday.

    The 27-year-old shot 121 to break Ganemat Sekhon’s national mark of 120, set last year, to finish fourth in qualification.

    The qualification was closely contested with positions 2-4 decided by a shoot-off after Chile’s Francisca Crovetto, Assem Orynbay of Kazakhstan and Maheshwari tied at 121.

    The second quota of the event was claimed by Sweden’s Victoria Larsson who shot 122 to emerge the top name among the six shooters to make the final.

    It could well have been gold for the Indian after she tied with Francisca at 54, but it was the Chilean who held her nerve better when it came down to the wire. China’s Yiting Jiang shot 45 (119) for the bronze.

    The joy of finding the podium in her first international ISSF final was apparent. Terming the experience “amazing”, Maheshwari said the outcome was “better than what I had hoped for.”

    For one who started competing in 2013, and had little to show other than two bronze in team events at Asian Championships in 2017 and 2024, notching an individual medal was justification of the hard work and patience leading to this week.

    “It has taken me a long time and lot of work to get here but I really enjoyed the final.”

    Despite making an individual final for the first time, Maheshwari “felt at home” and displayed excellent temperament to win the quota and medal. Falling short in the shoot-off does hurt, but there are no regrets.

    Competing with the objective of securing the quota spot, ticking that box in fact helped Maheshwari relax for the remainder of the final, and that reflected in her shooting.

    With more international exposure coming her way in Baku and Lonato, Maheshwari is certain that Doha will not be a flash in the pan. “I want to see myself a lot more in finals and the podium,” she said.

    After Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men’s trap), Rajeshwari Kumari (women’s trap), Anantjeet Singh Naruka (men’s skeet) and Raiza Dhillon (women’s skeet) earlier on, Maheshwari’s is the country’s fifth quota in shotgun events.

    Compared to rifle and pistol, where Indians shooters have swept all 16 spots on offer (eight each in rifle and pistol), the shotgun marksmen haven’t fared as well. Three quota spots, one each in men’s and women’s trap, and men’s skeet have gone abegging.

    With 21 quota places till date in rifle, pistol and shotgun, Indian shooters have achieved their best quota haul at any edition of the Olympics, eclipsing the 15 from Tokyo 2020.

    The men skeet shooters, two-time Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Tokyo Olympian Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Sheeraz Sheikh had a disappointing outing on Sunday as they failed to qualify for the final after shooting the same score of 116.

    Mairaj was the best Indian at 75th, followed by Angad (77th) and Sheeraz (79th). The qualification was won by Kazakhstan’s Eduard Yechshenko in a shoot-off after five shooters finished at 123.

    The final belonged to Sweden’s Marcus Svensson with 46 (123), who was followed by Peeter Juerisson with 45 (122) of Estonia and Eduard Yechshenko (44). Peeter and Eduard also bagged the two quota places on offer in this event.