New Delhi: Ace pistol shooter Jitu Rai settled for the Bronze medal in the mens 10M Air Pistol event in the shooting World Cup at the Karni Singh Shooting Range here on Tuesday. Jitu finished behind reigning Olympic Champion Xuan Vinh Hoang of Vietnam, who won Silver and former World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan, who clinched Gold. This was India’s third medal in the competition and their tally of one Silver and two Bronze medals thus far puts them in fifth place behind the Gold medal winning countries of China, Italy, Australia and Japan. Jitu, who in the last three years has won a medal in every global and continental championship barring the Olympics, qualified for the eight-man final in sixth place shooting a score of 577 in the allotted 60 shots. He had a poor start to the final shooting a couple of 9s and an 8.8 in the first five shot series.
In fact he was set to be the first to be eliminated but a brilliant fight back saw him gain places rapidly towards the end with five scores of 10s or high 10s between the 15th and the 20th shots. With the home crowd getting behind him, Jitu was in Silver medal position by the end of the 21st shot but an 8.6 in his 22nd shot meant he had to be content with the Bronze. In the final standings, Tomoyuki shot 240.1 in the Final, Xuan Vinh Hoang shot 236.6 and Jitu ended with a score of 216.7. Commenting on the day, Jitu said: “The poor start was a blessing in disguise as that took away all the pressure of performing at home and I was able to fully focus on perfect execution. I am very happy with this medal as it came in front of people known to me.
I dedicate this medal to the Army, because of whom I am here today.” India also had another finalist in the second event of the day, the men’s 50M Rifle Prone. Chain Singh shot 618.8 in qualification to make it to the Final in seventh place ahead of his teammates Gagan Narang and Sushil Ghaley. Former Olympic medallist Gagan shot 617 to finish 15th while Sushil shot 617.9 to be placed 12th in the overall standings. Chain could not improve on his position in the final and bowed out with a score of 141.9. The Gold in the event went to Japan’s Toshikazu Yamashita who shot 249.8 in the finals while China’s Yukun Liu shot 249.3 to bag the Silver. –IANS
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