Rahi bags India’s first gold in Changwon World Cup

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Rahi Sarnobat Friday became the first Indian women pistol shooter to win a gold in an ISSF World Cup after she triumphed in the final of the 25m sports pistol event in Changwon, South Korea.

According to information received here, Rahi beat local girl Kyeongae Kim 8-6 in the final to win the gold medal and joined the elite club of World Cup gold winners Anjali Bhagwat, Gagan Narang, Sanjeev Rajput, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ronjan Sodhi and Manavjit Singh Sandhu.

Rahi, who had qualified for the semifinal stage in fourth position with a total score of 585, had sealed her final berth as the second best semi-finalist with 15 points. Kim topped the standings with 16 after the five series.

According to the new competition rules, top eight players from the preliminaries qualify for the semi-finals where points are given according to the number of inner tens scored by a shooter in each series of five shots.

The top two shooters then qualify for the final, while the third and fourth placed shooters face each other in the Bronze medal play-off.

In the race-to-seven points final, a player get two points for winning the series, while a point each is given if both the shooters are tied.

After two tied series, Rahi was first to get off the block in the third and opened up a two point lead. But Kim hit back immediately winning the next two series take a 6-4 lead and push the Indian to the corner.

Facing a must win situation, Rahi upped the ante while her opponent struggled to keep her composure and lost the sixth and seventh series 3-1 and 2-1 respectively to hand the gold to the Indian.

“It is a dream come true for me. I had been working hard with coach Anatoli Puddubny for the last few months at the Gun for Glory Academy and I am thankful to Lakshya and Vascon for the support they are providing me in this respect,” said Rahi, who had earlier won a bronze medal in the 2011 ISSF World Cup in USA and book a berth in the 2012 London Olympics.

It was, however, a disappointing end for the other Indian challenger. 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anisa Sayyed finished 21st with a score of 572, while national champion Sushma Singh managed a score of 570 to finish 26th.

In the 10m Air Rifle event, none of the three Indian contenders managed to reach the final with national champion Apurvi Chandela finishing 30th with a total score of 407.8.

Pooja Ghatkar was India’s best performer with a score of 410.3 while Elizabeth Susan Koshy managed to shoot a score of 409.4 to finish 25th.

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