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India finish Cairo World Cup with 7 medals including 4 golds

25m Pistol Teams help India finish on top of the medal table; rifle continues to disappoint.

The first ISSF World Cup of the year in Rifle/Pistol concluded at Cairo today and India finished on top of the medal table with 7 medals including 4 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze.

However only 2 of the medals– Saurabh Chaudhary’s gold in Men’s 10m Air Pistol and Esha Singh’s silver in Women’s 10 Air Pistol- came from Olympic events. Each of the other 5 medals came from Team or non-Olympic Mixed events.

Indian 25m Pistol Teams rule the podium

Anish Bhanwala and Rhythm Sangwan on the 25m RFP Mixed Team Podium at Cairo

Rhythm Sangwan and Anish Bhanwala may have missed out on progressing further in their individual 25m Pistol events but they combined well together to clinch gold in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Mixed Team competition at Cairo. The duo defeated the Thailand team of Chawisa Paduka and Ram Khamhaeng by a scoreline of 17-7. Singapore defeated Indonesia by a narrow scoreline of 16-14 in the bronze medal match. The other Indian team of Esha Singh and Bhavesh Shekhawat could not make it to the medal rounds after finishing 5th in Qualification Stage 2.

Earlier the Women’s 25m Pistol Team comprising of Rhythm, Rahi Sarnobat and Esha Singh had won the third gold for India in the competition after beating the Singapore team of Teo Shun Xie, Teh Xiu Hong and Ling Chiao Nicole Tan by a score of 17-13. The experienced Rahi was easily the most consistent shooter from either team. Chinese Taipei enjoyed a come-from-behind 17-15 win over Japan in the bronze medal match.

Meanwhile the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Team of Anish, Gurpreet Singh and Bhavesh Shekhawat had to settle for silver after losing 7-17 to the formidable German team of Christian Reitz, Oliver Geis and Florian Peter in the gold medal match. Czech Republic blanked Indonesia 16-0 in the bronze medal match.

No Indian shooter could qualify for the final rounds in the Olympic Men’s 25m RFP individual competition. Bhavesh Shekhawat (576-16x) at 12th place was highest-finishing Indian. Anish was 18th with 571-14x while 2016 Olympian Gurpreet Singh finished a disappointing 32nd with 554-18x. The finals cut-off was 578-20x.

Rifle woes continue for India

India’s only medal from the rifle discipline at Cairo came via the non-Olympic 50m Rifle 3 Positions Mixed Team competition. Shriyanka Sadangi and Akhil Sheoran defeated the Austrian duo of Rebecca Koeck and Gernot Rumpler by a score of 16-10 in the bronze medal match. The Norwegian team of Jenny Stene and Jon-Hermann Hegg defeated Germans Jolyn Beer and Maximilian Dallinger 16-8 in the gold medal match.

There was no Indian representation in the medal rounds of the non-Olympic Men’s and Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Position competition. In Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions individual qualifications, Sift Kaur Samra (582) who ended up 25th was the highest-placed Indian. Shriyanka Sadangi (574) finished 55th.

No Indian individual or team could win a medal in the 10m Air Rifle competition although the likes of Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil and Shreya Agrawal came close to qualifying.

The Cairo World Cup again highlighted the gulf in results between the Indian pistol and rifle teams first evident from the Osijek World Cup last year. The new coaching staff will have much work to do to bring the new-look rifle team up to 2019 levels.