New Delhi, Feb 24, 2017: The People’s Republic of China (Shi Mengyao) won two of the three gold medals on offer during day-1 of the ISSF Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun World Cup in New Delhi, India.
Shi Mengyao, 19, secured the first gold medal of the season by winning today’s 10m Air Rifle Women final. The young shooter finished in the spotlights by scoring 252.1 points and by setting the new Wolrd Record as well as the new Junior World Record. With the introduction of the new 2017 ISSF Technical Rules, the 10m Air Rifle finals consist now in 24 shots, and therefore all the records were re-set at the beginning of the season. Shi was joined on the podium by her teammate Dong Lijie, 25, who placed in second with 248.9 points, seven years after her last world cup participation in Belgrade 2010.
India’s flag bearer Pooja Ghatkar, 28, won the applauses of the spectators crowding New Delhi’s final hall by claiming bronze with 228.8 points. The Indian student had never won an ISSF medal before, her best placement in career being a 4th place in Baku, last year. “It feels great to win a medal in my home country,” Ghatkar said. “Off-course I aimed for a better medal, but I hope this is just a starting point for better results in the future.”
“I had some difficulties with the blinder during the final, after the 15th shot,” she added. Ghatkar had indeed been leading right to the 14th shot. Then, scoring 9.9 on her 15th shot, she slid down in the placements, finishing behind the two Chinese teammates. “There was some pressure there, but I was able to manage it. I have to thank my coach, Gagan Narang, who helped me a lot, both technically and psychologically, in the lead up to this competition.”
At the following men’s 10m Air Rifle Final, Shi’s teammate Song Buhan, 20, pocketed the brightest medal and set the new World and Junior World Records with 249.5 points. He beat the Hungarian champion Peter Sidi, a 25-time world cup medalist. Ranked 4th in the world in this event, 38-year old Sidi placed in second with 249.1 points, losing the gold medal at the last shot as he fired a 10.2 to Song’s 10.5. Japan’s 18-year old first-time world cup participant Atsushi Shimada followed them in third, claiming Bronze with 227.4 points.
Day-1 of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi was closed by the success of Australia’s Penny Smith at the women’s Trap Final. The 21-year old shooter beat Italy’s 2012 Olympic Champion Jessica Rossi 40 to 38 hits, winning the new elimination-style Trap final at her first try.
“It’s fantastic. A bit overwhelming but really cool.” Smith said after the match. “It’s been a process. I didn’t train too well leading into the competition, so it’s good to come away with a win. This will be my only world cup event this year. The aim for the season is to make it through the Commonwealth Games selection.”
The ISSF Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun World Cup in New Delhi will continue tomorrow (25 February) with two more medal events. The 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men final will start at 13:00(UTC+5:30), and it will be followed by the Men’s Trap Final at 15.30. —- ISSF
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