Jitu Rai

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) Two-time Olympian shooter Jitu Rai on Wednesday gave India the first gold at the Shooting World Cup, by claiming the top slot in the 50m men’s air pistol event. His compatriot Amanpreet Singh settled for the silver in the same event at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range here.

Jitu, who fired 230.1 points to finish on top also won the bronze medal in the 10m pistol event on Tuesday.

Competing in his maiden World Cup, Amanpreet shot a total of 226.9 to bag the silver while the bronze medal went to Iran’s Vahid Golkhandan, who shot a total score of 208 points.

Earlier in the qualification round, Amanpreet had led the charts with 561 points while Jitu was second with 559 points. They had finished first and second respectively in that round.

Jitu has now won nine World Cup medals, including two this year. He had also qualified for the Rio Olympics but finished eighth in the finals.

India’s medals tally at this World Cup stands at five with Pooja Ghatkar winning bronze in the women’s 10m air rifle on the opening day of the event while Ankur Mittal added a silver in the double trap event.

India are placed fourth on the medal table behind leaders China (six gold, six silver), Italy (two gold, one bronze) and Australia (two gold).

“I wanted to win this gold as a combined World Cup was happening for the first time in India and I wanted to see the Tricolor fly the highest in front of the home fans,” an emotional Jitu said.

In the two other medal events of the day, Thailand won their first gold medal of the competition when Naphaswan Yangpaiboon emerged champion in the women’s 25M Pistol.

Naphaswan shot 38 in the final round to overcome World No.3 and former World Champion Jingjing Zhang of China who managed a score of 30. The bronze went to Germany’s Michelle Skeries who shot 27.

India’s effort in the qualifying rounds was led by the 15-year-old Muskan, who finished 12th with a score of 576 and could not make it to the six-woman final. Among the other Indian participants in the event, Rahi Sarnobat and Surabhi Pathak shot 571 and 570 to finish 23rd and 24th respectively.

In the women’s Skeet, former three-time Olympic champion Kimberly Rhode of the US won gold with a final score of 56.

The silver went to Thailand’s Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit, who shot 51, and New Zealand’s Chloe Tipple got the bronze with a score of 42.

Among the three Indians in the fray, Rashmee Rathore was the best finisher, shooting 66 out of a possible 75 in qualifying to end up in 17th place. Aarti Singh Rao shot 63 to finish 24th while Saaniya Sheikh shot 60 to take the 27th position.

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