India’s medal hunt in the ISSF Junior (U-21) World Cup continued on Day Two as the junior shooters added six more medals to take their tally to 13 in Gabala, Azerbaijan, on Monday.
India are second in the points table behind Russia, who too have 13 medals, but have won more gold and silver.
While four out of six were team medals, Haryana’s Anmol Kumar won the individual silver in men’s 10m air pistol event and Tamil Nadu’s Gaayathri Nithyanadam won the women’s 50m rifle 3 position bronze. Anmol and Gaayathri also helped their team win the team silver and bronze in their respective matches. The women’s 10m air pistol team comprising Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Malaika Goel and Harshada Nithave bagged team gold. The sixth medal, a bronze, was clinched by the skeet team comprising Anant Jeet Singh, Sukhbir Singh and Hamza Sheikh.
Besides the clutch of medals, a big plus for India was eight of the 15 shooters in the fray on Monday made it to the finals in three disciplines.
Junior pistol coach Jaspal Rana said his shooters were still a work in progress. “The medals are good, but I feel all of them need to work a lot harder and be mentally stronger,” he said. “I am not happy with the way things are going in junior shooting. The shooters need to train more in national camps and gain focus instead of going to various coaches and getting confused. Since the shooters are young, they get influenced easily and start training under anybody. Their parents too put a lot of pressure and sometimes are overprotective, which affects the shooters’ performance,” the outspoken former Commonwealth champion said.
The 10m air pistol final saw Anmol (567), Hemendra Khushwah (567) and Gaurav Rana making (570) enter the medal round. Though Gaurav was the top Indian in the qualifications, he was the first to get eliminated in the final with a score of 75. Hemendra was next to go with 95.3. Anmol, with 13 nines in 20 rounds looked shaky, but with a couple of higher 10s, he kept himself in fray for a medal and scored 197.5 to finish behind Russia’s Artem Chernousov, who had a strong 2.2 points lead for gold. Bronze also went to Russia’s Evgeniu Borovoi (175.8).
In the women’s 50m rifle 3 position event, Gaayathri looked poised to win gold as she led the eight-shooter final in the kneeling and prone rounds. After scoring 305.5 in the first two rounds, she lost her way in the standing position and shot a series of 9s to fall to third position after scoring 438.9.
The gold went to Czech Republic’s Nikola Foistova (451.5), while Russia’s Olga Efimova won silver with 450.6 points.