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Cairo World Cup 2022: Air Pistol stars bring in the medals for India

Air pistol shooters won all three of India's medals so far at the ISSF World Cup in Cairo while rifle shooters had a disappointing outing.

Esha Singh and Saurabh Chaudhary

The ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol being held in Cairo, Egypt from 26th February marks the beginning of the international season for top Olympic shooters across the world.

India is presently on top of the medal table with two golds and a silver. All of India’s medals so far have come from 10m Air Pistol.

Saurabh Chaudhary added yet another gold to an already remarkable collection of medals in Men’s 10m Air Pistol. The 19-year old defeated Germany’s Michael Schwald by a scoreline of 16-6 in the gold medal match. Saurabh had qualified for the finals in third place with a qualification score of 584. He subsequently topped both the final stages to qualify for the gold match.

Tokyo 2020 Mixed Team silver medalist Artem Chernousov of Russia (whose country name and flag were retracted in view of global events) finished with a bronze ahead of Azerbaijan’s Ruslan Lunev.

Chernousov had topped qualifications with a terrific 591 while the 8th-place cut-off was 582. Among other Indians in the fray, Gaurav Rana finished 31st with 575 while new-comers Pradhyumn Singh and Kedarling Balakrishna Uchaganwe both scored 563 and finished 66th and 67th respectively.

Esha impresses in Women’s 10m AP

Esha Singh

Highly rated youngster Esha Singh won the first senior international medal of her career by clinching the Women’s 10m Air Pistol silver at Cairo. Esha lost 4-16 in the gold medal match to Greece’s Anna Korakaki, the 2016 Olympic Champion in Women’s 25m Pistol.

Bulgarian Antoaneta Kostadinova, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in this event, had to be content with bronze here at Cairo despite topping the qualification table with 584. Esha qualified in 6th place with a score of 578; she then topped the first final stage ahead of Korakaki and edged out Kostadinova in the second stage to qualify for the gold medal match.

P. Shri Nivetha and Ruchita Vinerkar, the other Indians in the fray, finished 27th and 33rd with scores of 569 and 567 respectively.

Rhythm misses out in Women’s 25m Pistol

Rhythm Sangwan did well to qualify in 4th place with 582 in the Women’s 25m Pistol competition but a poor start in Final Stage 1 ended any chances for a medal.

Esha Singh finished 11th with 578 while the experienced Rahi Sarnobat finished 27th with 573. The 8th place cut-off was 579.

Mathilde Lamolle of France defeated Hungarian Veronika Major by a narrow margin of 16-15 to win gold. Anna Korakaki took home bronze.

India win gold in Women’s 10m AP Team

The Indian Women’s 10m AP team at Cairo

Esha teaming up with Shri Nivetha and Ruchita won gold for India in the non-Olympic Women’s 10m Air Pistol Team competition at Cairo. The Indian women defeated the German team of Sandra Reitz, Andrea Katharina Heckner and Carina Wimmer by a scoreline of 16-6 in the gold medal match. Chinese Taipei beat Singapore by a score of 16-8 in the bronze match.

The Indian team had topped both qualification stages with Ruchita being the most consistent shooter overall.

The Indian Men’s Team of Saurabh, Kedarling and Gaurav on the other hand missed out on a medal after losing 6-16 to Italy in the bronze medal match. The Indian team finished had placed fourth in Qualification Stage 1 and third in Stage 2 to qualify for the bronze match. Germany blanked out Turkey 16-0 in the gold medal match.

India also missed out on a chance to progress further in the Olympic Mixed AP competition as in-form shooters Saurabh and Esha paired with newcomers Shri Nivetha and Kedarling respectively could not qualify for the final stages. Esha and Kedarling finished 19th with 567 while Saurabh and Shri Nivetha were 33rd with 559. Had Saurabh (290) and Esha (285) been paired together, their combined score of 575 would have been enough to qualify for Final Stage 1.

Serbia defeated Turkey in the 10m AP Mixed gold medal match.

Narrow misses afflict rifle team

While the Indian pistol team enjoyed a good overall showing, their rifle counterparts had no such luck as Indians missed out on qualifying by the narrowest of margins.

Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil’s 628.5 was only good enough for 11th place as the high-scoring Men’s 10m Air Rifle competition closed at 629.6. Olympian Divyansh Singh Panwar (626.8) finished 25th while debutante Srinjoy Datta (616.6) finished 82nd.

In Women’s 10m Air Rifle, Shreya Agrawal, leading the new-look women’s team, just missed out with 629.3 while the qualification cut-off was 629.4. Ayushi Gupta finished 37th with 626.1 while Rajshree Sancheti was 54th with 624.3.

In AR Mixed Team, India 2 comprised of Rudrankksh and Ayushi crashed out after finishing fourth in the first final stage. The duo had earlier qualified in third place. The more experienced India 1 team of Shreya and Divyansh had a disappointing run, finishing 22nd.

The Men’s AR team of Rudrankksh, Divyansh and Srinjoy missed out on qualifying for the bronze medal match by just 0.1 points in Qualification Stage 2; this was after they had qualified from QS1 in second place.

The Women’s AR team of Shreya, Ayushi and Rajshree finished 7th in QS2 and could not make it to the medal rounds.

Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions was another disappointment as Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar finished 14th with 583 and missed out on qualifying further. Kiran Ankush Jadhav finished 41st while the veteran Sanjeev Rajput finished 48th.