RIO DE JANEIRO: Teen stars Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary staged a remarkable comeback to claim the mixed 10m air pistol gold, providing a fitting finale to India’s unprecedented dominance of the medal tally in the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol stage here.
Representing the other Indian team in the same event, Yashaswini Deswal and Abhishek Verma won the silver as the country picked up the maximum possible medals on the final day of the tournament.
The results ensured an unprecedented top finish for India across all four ISSF World Cup stages this year, including the lone junior world cup. India’s final tally here stood at five gold, two silver and two bronze medals for a total of nine. No other country won more than one gold medal here.
World number one in women’s 10m air rifle, Apurvi Chandela, had earlier partnered Deepak Kumar to win India their fourth gold on the concluding day of the event. The pair won the top medal in the mixed air rifle event.
Anjum Moudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar, representing India 2, who won the previous two World Cup editions of the same event, won bronze as India continued to reach never-before-seen heights in rifle and pistol shooting.
In the air pistol final, the pair of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary prevailed over Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Abhishek Verma 17-15 in a nerve-wracking contest.
Manu and Saurabh, both 17, have now won each of the four ISSF Mixed Team Air Pistol world cup golds this year. They were, at various stages of the final, down 3-9, then 7-13 and then finally 9-15 before winning the next four duels straight to stage a remarkable come-from-behind win.
India have collected a whopping 22 medals in the four ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup stages this year, including an awe-inspiring 16 gold medals. Their highest tally before this was eight last year.
In the history of the ISSF World Cup before 2019, India had collected a total of 19 gold medals, only 11 being in the rifle and pistol disciplines while eight came from the shotgun discipline.