Home Sift Kaur Samra shoots historic Gold at Asian Games

    Sift Kaur Samra shoots historic Gold at Asian Games

    By indianshooting.com
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    Sift Kaur Samra has come to be synonymous with firsts on shooting world stage. At the Baku World Championship last month, Sift missed out on a medal in 50m rifle three positions but won the country first Olympic quota in the women event.

    Keeping up with the list of firsts, Sift got India its first individual gold in shooting at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The pressure was immense, given that the 21-year-old was competing in her first multi-discipline competition, but Sift braved all of it to hand India its first ever individual gold in rifle at the Asian Games on a day that proved to be India richest (7 medals) in the sport in the Games history.

    Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, 25, too had his moment under the sun with silver in men skeet after running Rio and Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Abdullah Al-Rashidi close. The 60-year-old from Kuwait found all 60 targets to equal the world record set by India Angad Vir Singh Bajwa in 2018.

    Naruka, who was in the race for gold for a major part of the competition floundered towards the end, but shooting 58/60 in a pressure-cooker situation is extremely commendable. The bronze went to another seasoned name, 52-year-old Naseer Al-Athiya of Qatar, the 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist.

    Like Naruka show in his first multi-discipline competition, Sift stands out too. With a final score of 469.6, she smashed the world record by 2.6 points. There was more cheer as Ashi Chouksey, who was part of the silver-medal winning team in women’s 10m air rifle a few days back, made the podium as the bronze medallist with a score of 451.9. The silver went to the host country Qiongyue Zhang (462.3), who was crowned world champion in Baku last month.

    Earlier, Sift, Ashi and Manini Kaushik combined for the team medal, silver it was with a score of 1764. The gold went to the Chinese trio of Jiayu Han, Siyu Xia and Zhang (1773), and Koreans Eunseo Lee, Sanghee Bae and Kyerim Lee (1756) got bronze.

    In qualification, Sift tied with Xia at 594, but finished second on account of have hit fewer inner 10s, 28 compared to Xia 48. Zhang was third with 591. Ashi was the sixth name to qualify with a score of 590 while Manini finished 18th with a score of 580.

    Joining Wednesday medal rush was the men skeet team of Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, Gurjoat Singh Khangura and Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, the trio combined score of 355 good enough for the bronze in the team event. China bagged the top prize with a score of 362 with the efforts of Xu Han, Jiangchi Liu and Yunxuan Wu. The silver went to the Qataris (359) Masoud Saleh Al-Athba, Rashid Saleh Al-Athba and Nasser Al-Attiya.

    The day other highlight was the Indian girls in 25m pistol. Manu Bhaker raised hopes of a sterling show by topping the qualification with a score of 590, bettering her show by 10 points from the Baku World Championship, to eclipse her Chinese rivals Sixuan Feng (587) and Rui Lui (586). But it was Esha Singh, fifth in qualification with a score of 586, who stepped up admirably in the final to claim silver with a score of 34, four points less than Chinese Rui Liu Games record. Korea Jiin Yang (29) settled for bronze. Manu finished fifth with a score of 21.

    The third member of the Indian team, Rhythm Sangwan (583), who missed the final despite finishing seventh in qualification owing to the GamesÔÇÖ rule of only two shooters per country in the final, had the satisfaction of contributing to the golden effort in the team event.

    At 18, Esha has all the trappings of a world-class shooter, consistently striking gold at the Cairo and Baku World Championships in the junior ranks.

    Wednesday witnessed Naruka progression to the senior ranks in style. With just two medals to show in the ISSF Junior Cup and Asian Championship, Naruka held his own among a bunch of celebrated names by showing what a cool head can achieve.

    With 12 medals till now in Hangzhou, Indian shooters look set to better the 2018 Asian Games show (9 medals) by a distance.