Sarabjot wins bronze and India's eighth Paris Olympics quota place

In women's 10m air pistol event, none of the Indians could make the top-eight cut

Sarabjot Singh Sarabjot Singh

Sarabjot Singh locked the Paris Olympics quota by winning a bronze medal in the men's 10m air pistol while Sainyam clinched the gold in the junior women's event at the ongoing Asian Shooting Championship in Changwon, Korea on Tuesday.

Sarabjot shot 221.1 in the final to finish behind the Chinese duo of Zhang Yifan (gold, 243.7) and Liu Jinyao (242.1) to earn the eighth Olympic quota place for India in shooting and the first in pistol events. The Indian had earlier made it to the eight-shooter finals with a score of 581, which helped him clinch the eighth spot in the qualification round.

With China having already bagged two Olympic quota places in the event and only one of the two Koreans eligible, Sarabjot had his task cut out needing a high finish. Each country can earn a maximum of two Olympic quota places per event in shooting sport.

Sarabjot, winner of the men's 10m air pistol team gold and mixed team silver at the Hangzhou Asain Games recently, shot to the lead after the first five shots which was crucial and, as the two Chinese caught up and went past him, Sarabjot was able to maintain his composure and register yet another international podium finish.

The other Indians in men's 10m air pistol failed to make the finals. Varun Tomar (578) and Kunal Rana (577) finished 16th and 17th, while Shiva Narwal (576) was 20th and Saurabh Chaudhary (569) was 35th.

In the women's 10m air pistol event, none of the Indians, including those playing for ranking points only, could make the top-eight cut. Rhythm Sangwan finished 11th (577), Esha Singh 13th (576), Surbhi Rao 15th (575), Ruchita Vinerkar 22nd(571) and Palak 25th (570) respectively.

However, Sainyam lifted the gloom somewhat with a commanding show in the junior women's 10m air pistol event, shooting 240.6 in the finals to win gold by overcoming a strong challenge from Chinese Jin Bohan, who finished second just 0.4 points adrift. Drishti Sangwan, who had also made it to the eight-shooter finals, finished seventh.

In the qualification round, Sainyam had shot a superb 578 to be placed second going into the finals behind another Chinese shooter Zuo Qingyi, who also shot a 578 but topped the preliminary round on a better 'inner-10' score. Drishti was fourth in qualification with 574 points.


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