Shooting World Cup: India bag silver, bronze in mixed team events

Rhythm Sangwan and Varun Tomar. NRAI

India bagged a silver and a bronze in the ISSF World Cup in Bhopal, with the air pistol mixed team pair of Varun Tomar and Rhythm Sangwan clinching the second spot, while Rudrankksh Patil and R Narmada Nithin securing the third spot in air rifle event on Thursday.

India have taken their medals tally in the competition to four, including one gold, a silver and two bronze. China won both the gold medals on offer on day two of the competition at the MP Shooting Academy Range.

Varun, following his individual bronze-winning effort in air pistol on Wednesday, teamed up with Rhythm to give a tough fight to the Chinese pair of Qian Wei and Liu Jinyao, before going down 11-17 in the air pistol mixed team gold-medal round.

In the initial stages of the final, it looked like the Chinese would have it easy, but the Indian pair made a strong comeback, going from 7-15 to 11-15 before Qian and Liu won the 15th series to seal the gold.

Earlier in the qualification round, Qian and Liu had topped the nine-team field with a score of 586, while Varun and Rhythm had finished second with 581.

"We all try our best and keep our best foot forward and silver is a medal as well. Gold would have been great but we are happy that we got a silver and we will try to better next time," said Rhythm, one of the most promising pistol shooters in the country, having won four junior team and individual gold medals at the 2021 World Championships in Lima.

The second Indian team in the event comprising Divya TS and Sarabjot Singh missed the bronze by a point, finishing fifth with a score of 574.

Reigning men's air rifle world champion Rudrankksh Patil and R Narmada Nithin, who had combined to win the gold at the ISSF World Cup in Cairo last month, finished with a bronze.

The pair had a combined score of 632 in qualification and came third, thereby qualifying for the bronze-medal match against China's Zhang Qiongyue and Yu Haonan, who finished fourth with the same combined score in the 19-strong field.

In the bronze-medal match, Rudrankksh and Narmada beat the Chinese pair 16-8 in what was a much closer match than the scoreline suggests. Both the pairs did not shoot a single shot below the 10-mark. The high point came in the sixth series when both Rudrankksh and Narmada shot perfect 10.9s.

"There was pressure obviously, but then we had a really good match -- the competition was so good and we quite enjoyed it," said Narmada after the match. "We were just asked to focus on our process and if we would have got gold we would have been motivated, but the bronze motivates us even more to do better next time," Rudrankksh said.

The second Indian pair in the event -- Hriday Hazarika and Tilottoma Sen -- shot 628.1 in qualification to finish ninth.

The Chinese team of Huang Yuting and Sheng Lihao won gold, defeating Hungary's Istvan Peni and Denes Eszter 16-2.