ISSF World Championships: Akhil Sheoran Secures Olympics Quota With Bronze in Baku, Women’s and Men’s Trio Bag Gold – Apna TPO

India’s Akhil Sheoran secured the country’s fifth Paris Olympics quota in shooting after winning the bronze medal in the men’s rifle 3-position competition at the ISSF World Championships on Sunday.

Sheoran aggregated 450.0 in the eight-man final to finish third and also bag a quota for next year’s Olympic Games. He was placed sixth in the qualifications with an aggregate score of 585.

Austria’s Alexander Schmirl won the gold medal in the event with 462.6 and Czech Republic’s Petr Nymbursky settled for the silver with a total score of 459.2.

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The Indian team of Rhythm Sangwan, Esha Singh and Manu Bhaker shot a combined score of 1744 to beat Chinese Taipei for the gold medal in the 25m women’s pistol, aggregating 1744. China won bronze.

Sangwan finished eighth in the individual final to miss out on a Paris Olympics quota in the 25m women’s pistol.

Sheoran won two medals on the day, as she combined with Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Niraj Kumar for a total of 1750 to clinch the men’s 3P team gold.

”It really means a lot to me. We have been working so hard all these years for this. The Worlds come once in four years. To win a medal and a quota as well is really very satisfying,” Sheoran said.

”I could have pushed a bit more in the end for silver or gold, although the distance for gold was a bit more. I want to dedicate this quota to my country and thank my federation, SAI and all that have supported me till this day.” Sheoran made the final after a gruelling day beginning with the elimination round after which 33 shooters were discarded. He was the lowest Indian in elimination, shooting the first relay and a score of 579, as Aishwary shot 587 and Niraj shot 584.

Thereafter, he shot 585 in qualification on the back of a brilliant prone round of 198 out of 200 and qualified in the sixth spot.

Aishwary missed out by a point, finishing with 583 for a creditable 13th-place finish. He was left ruing a series of 94 in the first kneeling position. With Niraj shooting 577, the team’s gold was secured.

Yu Hao of China was the youngest finalist which also had Ukranian Serhiy Kulish who beat Abhinav Bindra in the Rio Olympics and went on to finish with a silver in the 10m air rifle.

He was one of two athletes, the other being Nymbursky, who already had Paris Olympics quotas secured for themselves and hence ineligible to win quotas here. The experienced Bulgarian Anton Rizov and Austrian Schmirl, qualifications topper Aleksi Leppa of Finland and Swiss Christoph Duerr made up the eight finalists.

Sheoran started with a 10.6 to be the best after the first shot. After the first five shots in the kneeling position, however, he was in fourth with a series of 50.3. Christoph, the Swiss shooter, was top of the pile at the early stage.

After the 10th shot, while Christoph was still going strong at the top, Sheoran, with a 9.4 in his 10th, was down to fifth. He got a 10.9 in his 12th, but after the end of the 15 kneeling position shots, he was in sixth place with the Chinese and Bulgarian shooters below him. Schmirl had taken over the lead and would maintain it till the end to win gold.

A fantastic first-prone series by both Sheoran and Leppa meant they were both challenging Kulish for fourth place. A 9.7 for his ninth prone series shot almost spoiled a good show, but he came back with a 10.8 and was up to joint fourth with Kulish after 20.

He sustained a sensational prone position round and by the end of it was up to second with 308.9, 3.4 behind leader Schmirl.

Sheoran shot a series of 53.4, 52.1 and 53.1 in the prone position with 12 of his 15 shots 10.5 or above.

Nymbursky was 0.7 behind in third while Swiss Christoph Duerr, the only left-hander in the field, was 0.8 behind Sheoran in fourth as they went into the final standing position.

A steady first 10 shots in the standing position saw Sheoran take third place behind Schmril and Nymbursky as Rizov and Yu became the first two to be eliminated. The Paris quota was confirmed for the Indian finalist.

When the Indian women’s pistol trio came out on Sunday for the rapid-fire round of qualification, they knew that making the final would be an uphill task.

In the first precision round on Saturday, Esha had been the best among them with a steady 288 out of 300, which gave her 29th place. Manu had shot 287 and was in the 38th spot while Rhythm was 69th with a round of 284.

But the three staged a remarkable comeback to ensure they win the team gold.

In the skeet mixed team event, two Indian pairs, of Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Parinaaz Dhaliwal and Anant Jeet Singh Naruka and Ganemat Sekhon, finished outside the medals.

Anant and Ganemat shot 139 in qualification to finish 25th while Angad and Parinaaz shot 135 to finish 37th.

Before Sheoran, Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men’s trap), reigning world champion Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil (men’s 10m air rifle), Swapnil Kusale (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions) and Mehuli Ghosh (women’s 10m air rifle) had won Olympic quotas.

The ISSF World Championship is a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

A total of 48 Olympic quotas are on offer for the top four finishers (one per country) in each of the 12 Olympic individual shooting events.

(This story has not been edited by Apna TPO staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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