There comes a time in an athlete lifetime when a defining moment vindicates the hard work and belief to strive on despite negligible returns.
Shriyanka Sadangi, in a career spanning over 15 years, had her moment when she won an Olympic quota in women’s 50m rifle three positions at the 15th Asian Championship in Changwon, Korea on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old finished fourth with a score of 440.5, but the effort was good enough for the Olympic quota. Shriyanka along with Hangzhou Asian Games bronze medalist Ashi Chouksey and Ayushi Podder also claimed the team gold with a score of 1766. This was Shriyanka’s second medal after the team bronze in 10m air rifle.
The team silver went to Kazakhstan (1760) and bronze to Korea (1759).
All three Indians made the final but none could find the podium, which had Korea Eunseo Lee with a score of 468.5 (587), World No 1 Han Jiayu with 463.3 (590) of China and teammate Xia Siyu with 453.3 (587) as the three medallists.
Ashi finished 6th with a score of 417.4 and Ayushi 7th with 407.5.
The quota is testimony to Shriyanka never-say-die spirit. A practicing shooter since 2007, she started competing two years later, but success on the international stage has eluded her. Save the mixed team bronze at the 2022 Cairo World Cup, her 13-year-long international journey that started in 2010 has no other milestone, but Shriyanka stayed undeterred, and was rewarded for her perseverance.
In qualification, Asian Games gold medallist Sift Kaur Samra shot the best qualification score of 592 but since she was shooting in ranking points only (RPO), she was not eligible for the final. Ashi shot the next best 591, a point more than her qualification score in Asian Games. Shriyanka finished 6th with 588 while Ayushi 9th with 587. Manini Kaushik finished 10th with 586 in RPO.
With this India has won the maximum two Olympic quotas in the event. The first was secured by Sift at the Baku World Championship. India has also secured the maximum eight quotas in rifle events.
This is the 6th Olympic quota for India in the ongoing competition and 13th overall.