New Delhi, 28 October: Olympian Manu Bhaker finished fifth in the 25m pistol event and in the process, secured a Paris Olympic quota for India at the Asian Shooting Championships in Changwon, Korea on Saturday.
This was India’s 11th quota in shooting for the Olympics. Five of these - Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh, Sift Kaur Samra, Rajeshwari Kumari and Tilottama Sen - have come through women. Tilottama had obtained a quota after winning the silver medal in the 10m air rifle event on Friday. Arjun Babuta (10m air rifle) and Sarabjot Singh (0m air pistol) have also secured quotas from this meet.
Manu topped qualification with a score of 591 to qualify for the final but could only manage 24 in the medal round to finish behind the China’s Liu Rui (37), Iran’s Rostamiyan Haniyeh (36) and China’s Zhao Nan (32) and Feng Sixuan (27).
Though the Indian finished outside the top two, she obtained the quota as a country can only win a maximum of two quotas in any particular shooting event at Paris 2024.Since China had already secured one in the women’s 25m pistol event through Chen Yan at the Shooting World Championships 2022 in Cairo, Saturday’s gold medalist Liu Rui filled up China’s allotment by securing the second. This ruled out both Zhao Nan and Feng Sixuan from securing a quota place for next year’s Games.
Iran's Rostamiyan Haniyeh had already secured a Paris 2024 quota from last year’s Cairo World Championships, which meant the second quota place on offer at Changwon automatically passed on to Manu Bhaker despite her finishing fifth.
Manu's teammates Esha Singh, inished 17th in the 25m pistol qualifying round with 579 while Rhythm Sangwan shot 576 to come in 23rd.Though both shooters failed to make the finals, they, along with Manu Bhaker, won India the silver medal in the 25m pistol team event with a total score of 1746. China took gold with 1760.
Meanwhile, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Ramita claimed the silver medal in the 10m air rifle mixed team event. The duo topped qualifying with 631.1 to make the gold medal match, where they lost 16-12 to the Chinese team of Han Jiayu and Yu Haonan.
Earlier Arjun Babuta and Tilottama Sen clinched Olympic quotas for the country ,after winning the silver medals in the men’s and women’s 10m air rifle events, respectively while in Skeet men’s 10m air rifle team and mixed team won a gold each..
Arjun Babuta, 24, shot 633.4 to top the qualification round compatriot Divyansh Singh Panwar finished third with a score of 632.3. In the final, Babuta shot 251.2 to finish behind the China’s Sheng Lihao, who shot 252.1. Divyansh with 209.6, finished fourth while Japan's Naoya Okada took bronze with 230.6.
Ravishankar Karthik (631.5) and Rudrankksh Patil (630.8) also finished in the top eight in the qualifying round but didn’t feature in the final as both were shooting for ranking points only (RPO).
Hriday Hazarika, with 626.7, was placed 21st in qualifying. The trio of Arjun Babuta, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Hriday Hazarika, with a combined score of 1892.4, won the gold medal in the men’s team 10m air rifle category, beating China to the top podium.
The duo of Anant jeet Singh Naruka, an Asian Games silver medallist, and Darshna Rathore, bagged a gold medal in the mixed team skeet event after beating Kuwait 40-37 in the gold medal match.
In the women’s 10m air rifle event, the 15-year-old Tilottama Sen shot 630.5 to finish sixth in qualifying before managing 252.3 in the final to settle for silver. South Korea’s Eunji Kwon took the gold with 252.4 while Tilottama’s compatriot Ramita, who shot 629.5 in qualifying, clinched bronze with 230.6.
Elavenil Valarivan shot 631.5 in qualifying to finish third while teammate Nancy was placed seventh with 630.3. Both were shooting for ranking points only (RPO).
Shriyanka Sadangi, who came 26th in the qualifying round with 626.2, was part of the bronze medal-winning women’s 10m air rifle team with Tilottama and Ramita. The trio managed a combined total of 1886.2 to finish behind China and Singapore.
Kuwait had topped the qualification round with 140 while India ousted Korea and Qatar in a shoot-off to make the gold medal match.
The Asian Championships is a qualifying event for the Olympics. A total of 24 Olympic quotas are on offer with the top two finishers (one per country) in each of the 12 Olympic shooting events securing a spot for their national teams.
However, as National Olympic Committees have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games, athletes' participation at the Games depends on their NOC selecting them to represent their delegation at Paris