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Mehuli Ghosh wins bronze and Paris Olympic quota in Women’s 10m Air Rifle

India, however, won gold in the Women's 10m Air Rifle Team Competition, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) informed in a release on Saturday.

Mehuli Ghosh wins bronze and Paris Olympic quota in Women’s 10m Air Rifle

Mehuli Ghosh (Photo: IANS)

NEW DELHI: Mehuli Ghosh bagged a bronze in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle and in the process claimed Olympic quota place for India with a fine performance in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship (All Events) in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday.

India, however, won gold in the Women's 10m Air Rifle Team Competition, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) informed in a release on Saturday.

Thanks to the efforts by the Air Rifle Women shooters, India finished the day with two gold and two bronze medals and in third place on the medal tally behind leaders China and second-placed USA, who have two gold and one silver medal.

Mehuli, the Indian shooter from Kolkata, who had earlier in the day topped qualifying with a sizzling 634.5, shot 229.8 in the 24-shot eight-woman final to bow out in third place at the end of 22-shots. This score was enough for her to claim the Olympic quota place.

China won gold and silver with Han Jiayu finishing with 251.4 and Wang Zhilin ending with 250.2. The 15-year-old Tilottama Sen of India won hearts with a brilliant fourth-place finish.

India however, teamed up with Tilottama and Ramita to win the 10m Air Rifle Women Team competition with a combined total of 1895.9, ahead of China who totalled 1893.7. Germany won bronze.

Visibly happy after the final, Mehuli said, “I am very happy with the bronze medal and also with the Olympic quota. I thank everyone including SAI, NRAI, and TOPS for supporting me and I hope I can make all of you proud in the future as well and bring more medals for the country.” About the final, Mehuli said, “I was very excited and nervous for the final. In fact, I can still feel the nerves. There was very little difference between each one of us. It was very exciting and I am happy with the result.” The Women’s 10m Air Rifle was the last final of the day as it begin late in the evening. By then, India had endured a tough day with the Men’s Skeet and Men’s 10m Air Rifle squad finishing outside medals.

Earlier, Mehuli topped the qualification stage in the Women's 10m Air Rifle with a national record score of 634.5 while Tilottama was sixth in qualifying with 631.3. Ramita, who shot in the first relay and was the third Indian in the field, also shot well but finished 11th with 630.1 in the 140-strong field.

The top eight besides the two Indians and the two Chinese also had Martina Lindsay Veloso, the youngest ever ISSF World Cup medal winner. Swiss Audrey Gogniat, Iranian Amirani Chehel and in-form Frenchwoman Oceanne Muller complete the finals line-up.

Mehuli in fact was the slowest starter, beginning with a 10.2 while Tilottama was one better with a 10.4. After the first five single shots series, however, Mehuli was up to second and did not quite leave the top half till she bowed out in the end. Tilottama was struggling at this stage at the very bottom.

Tilottama began her comeback from the 11th shot onwards. Martina was the first to be eliminated in the eighth position after the 12th shot and by then the two Han and Wang had moved to the top.

A 10.6 by Sen for the 14th and a 9.6 by Muller meant they went into a shoot-off for seventh place. She brushed that aside with a solid 10.7. Mehuli had moved up to third with a 10.8 and was 0.3 behind Han and Wang who were both on 146.6.

Tilottama kept shooting high 10s to then account for Gogniat first and then when she took out Amirani after the 18th, a medal and quota place was confirmed for India. One country could win one quota in each event and the Iranian and Swiss shooters also won quota places for their countries. China won the other quota place.

A string of low 10s had meant that Mehuli was unable to challenge the two Chinese but a 10.8 for her 20th shot ensured that she pipped her junior compatriot for the coveted world championship medal.

Day’s other results for India

In the day’s other results, Divyansh Singh Panwar was the top Indian finisher in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle with a qualification score of 627.5 giving him a 28th-place finish. Aishwary Tomar was further back in 33rd with 627.3 while Hriday Hazarika finished 68th with 623.6.

In the Men’s Skeet, despite Angad Vir Singh Bajwa shooting well for a score of 121 in qualification, it was good enough for only a 29th-place finish. Anant Jeet Singh Naruka shot 120 to finish 44th while Gurjoat Khangura was further back in 95th with a score of 115.

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