Thursday turned out to be another productive day for India at the World Championship in Baku as Rajeshwari Kumari stepped up to win an Olympic quota in women’s trap.
Hopes were high after Rajeshwari, the daughter of shooting legend and Asian Games gold medallist Randhir Singh, finished third in qualification with a score of 120/125.
Equations changed dramatically in the final as 2002 World Champion in double trap Chun Yi Lin of Chinese Taipei, the last name to qualify for the final with 119, captured the top spot and quota with 40.
It was experience in play for the 42-year-old Lin given her exposure across four Olympics, starting with Sydney 2000.
2012 London Olympic Champion and multiple-time World Champion Jessica Rossi of Italy settled for silver with a score of 39 (119). Germany’s Kathrin Murche 28 (121) took the bronze and quota.
Rajeshwari finished 5th with 19, but was assured of the quota after 2021 Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Alessandra Perilli 15 (122) of San Marino finished 6th, which confirmed a Paris Olympic berth for India.
Since Jessica had won a quota previously, the other five finalists were vying for the four available quotas. Apart from Rajeshwari, Chun and Kathrin, the other quota winner was fourth placed Wu Cuicui of China 22 (119).
A gold medallist in trap team at the Delhi World Cup in 2021, Rajeshwari upheld her family’s rich legacy in shooting and courtesy her feat, India has earned four quotas in Baku after Sift Samra in women’s 50m rifle three positions, Akhil Sheoran in men’s 50m rifle three positions and Mehuli Ghosh in women’s 10m air rifle.
In aggregate, India have seven Olympic quota places so far. Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men’s trap), Rudrankksh Patil (men’s 10m air rifle) and Swapnil Kusale (men’s 50m rifle three positions) are the other shooters who secured quota places at last year’s ISSF World Championship.
There was some more cheer for India as Rajendra Ravindra Bagul, Akshay Jain and Gaurav Kumar Chaudhary secured bronze with a cumulative score of 1718 in men’s 25m centre fire pistol team.
The gold went to Germany (1743) while Korea (1731) took the silver.
In the individual event, Bagul was the best-placed Indian at 12th with a score of 575. Jain shot 573 to lie 17th and Chaudhary finished 21st with 570.
Germany’s hugely experienced Christian Reitz, gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics and bronze at 2008 Beijing Olympics, was again the top name with 584.
Estonia’s Peeter Olesk, who had pipped Adarsh Singh on the basis of higher inner 10s to claim the quota in 25m rapid fire pistol on Tuesday, got silver while Germany’s Florian Peter added another bronze after his bronze in 25m rapid fire pistol.
Men’s trap proved to be a complete washout for India as none of the three shooters made the final — Prithviraj Tondaiman (121) 23rd, Kynan Chenai (119) 51st and Zoravar Singh Sandhu (117) 70th falling way back.
In the final, 2012 London Olympic Champion Giovanni Cernogoraz of Croatia stepped up admirably to capture gold with 44 (123), ahead of Slovakia’s Manan Kovacocy 41 (124) and Kuwait’s Khaled Almudhaf 31 (124). All the three medallists claimed quotas as well along sixth-placed Giovanni Pellielo of Italy.
China maintained their supremacy with 13 gold, 6 silver and 5 bronze; USA regained the second spot with 5 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze, India slipped to third with 5 gold and 5 bronze.