Mairaj wins historic skeet gold in Shooting World Cup

In the 40-shot final, the 46-year-old from Uttar Pradesh shot 37 to finish ahead of Korea’s Minsu Kim (36) and Britain’s Ben Llewellin (26), who won silver and bronze respectively.
Representative image
Representative imageReuters

CHANGWON: Veteran India shooter Mairaj Ahmed Khan on Monday created history by winning the country’s first-ever ISSF World Cup gold medal in men’s skeet here.

In the 40-shot final, the 46-year-old from Uttar Pradesh shot 37 to finish ahead of Korea’s Minsu Kim (36) and Britain’s Ben Llewellin (26), who won silver and bronze respectively.

Mairaj shot 119/125 over two days of qualifying before coming through in a five-way shoot-off en route his maiden individual gold. The two-time Olympian, who is the oldest member of the Indian contingent in Changwon, had won a silver medal at the 2016 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

Earlier in the day, the trio of Anjum Moudgil, Ashi Chouksey and Sift Kaur Samra won bronze in the women’s 50m rifle 3P team event. The Indians outplayed the Austrian team of Sheileen Waibel, Nadine Ungerank and Rebecca Koeck 16-6 in the bronze medal match to comfortably secure a podium finish.

But, the day undoubtedly belonged to Mairaj. After finishing with 119, he found himself vying for final two qualification spots along with four others, including two-time Olympic medallist Abdullah Al Rashidi of Kuwait.

When Shotaro Toguchi of Japan missed his eighth shoot-off shot, Mairaj was assured of a top-eight spot.

In the ranking round, he was up against German Sven Korte, Korean Minki Cho and Cypriot Nicolas Vasilou for another round of 30 targets. He topped the round with 27 hits as Sven followed him to the medal round with 25 hits. In other results, Vijayveer Sidhu made the ranking round, but failed to advance to the medal rounds while Anish and Sameer could not cross the first hurdle in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol. Vijayveer shot 584 in qualifying to finish sixth while Anish shot 582 for the 12th spot and Sameer 566 for the 30th position. Mufaddal Deesawala finished 23rd in the women’s skeet, shooting a total of 108.

With one gold and bronze apiece on Monday, India remained on top of the medal tally with 13 podiums (5 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze).

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