Abhishek Verma shoots gold in first WC final, secures Olympic quota

PTI
Saturday, 27 April 2019

The Indians have sealed five quota places for the Tokyo Olympics so far with young Saurabh Chaudhary clinching one in 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year. With this, India have clinched both their quotas in this event.

BEIJING: Leading the final from beginning to end, Abhishek Verma secured India's fifth Olympic quota place in shooting, winning the 10m air pistol gold medal at the ISSF World Cup here on Saturday.

Shooting in his maiden International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup final, the lawyer-turned-shooter led the field throughout the men's 10m air pistol event to clinch the top spot with a total score of 242.7.

Russia's Artem Chernousov took silver with a total of 240.4 points in the eight-man final. Korea's Seungwoo Han finished with a bronze after shooting 220.0 in the final.

Son of a siting judge, Verma showcased his class in what was only his first ISSF World Cup final.

The Indians have sealed five quota places for the Tokyo Olympics so far with young Saurabh Chaudhary clinching one in 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year. With this, India have clinched both their quotas in this event.

Incidentally, Verma made his World Cup debut in New Delhi but failed to qualify for the final at home.

In the Chinese capital on Saturday, Verma shot a total of 585 points to qualify for the final at the fourth spot.

He was the only Indian who progressed to the final with Shahzar Rizvi and Arjun Singh Cheema finishing 32nd and 54th respectively.

Verma, who had won a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol event during his India debut at the Asian Games, does not have much international exposure, making the feat even more creditable.

This was his fourth big final in less than nine months and a third international medal in his very first year.

He was on the job from the word go, evident from a score of 97 in his first qualifying series. He shot a 100 in the fourth and finished with 98 and 97 for a qualification round score of 585, his best in a short international career.

The total placed him in a comfortable fourth place in the 97-strong field. Park Daehun of Korea topped the field with a 586.

The final eight comprised names such as former Olympic champion Pang Wei of China, world championship silver medallist and world number two Artem Chernusov of Russia as well as experienced campaigners and multiple ISSF medallists like Oleh Omelchuk of Ukraine and Yusuf Dikec of Turkey among others.

Verma, however, remained unfazed and pulled off a comfortable victory in the end.

In the day's other events, Manu Bhaker was the best-placed Indian shooter after the precision stage of the women's 25m pistol qualifications round. She shot 291 to be four points behind the leader in 14th spot while Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat's effort of 288 put her in 29th place. Chinki Yadav shot 284 to lie in 57th spot.

All three Indians in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) event also comfortably sailed through their elimination round and will shoot the qualifying round on Sunday, which is also the concluding day of competitions.

On Friday, Rajasthan's 17-year-old teenager Divyansh Singh Panwar on Friday secured India's fourth Olympic quota place by winning silver in 10m air rifle event.

This is India's fifth 2020 Tokyo Olympic quota after Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela (10m air rifle women), Saurabh Choudhary (10m Air Pistol men) and Divyansh had secured berths in the earlier World Cups and last year's World Championship.

Saurabh Chaudhary was fielded in the MQS category earlier in the day to boost the chances of another Olympic quota place for India.

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