Manish Narwal and Rubina Francis won the 10m P6 air pistol mixed team event to clinch India's third gold medal at the ongoing World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Chateauroux, France on Wednesday.
Narwal and Francis, who aggregated a world record qualifying score of 565 to enter the final at the top position, defeated Chinese pair of Yang Chao and Min Li 17-11 in the title clash. The Indian pair totalled 274.3. Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist Narwal scored 138.7 in the final six shots. He shot consistent scores of 10s and 9s, but Francis also matched her fancied partner with 9s, a few 8s and 10. China's Chao was impressive with four 10s but Min faltered in crucial moments.
On Thursday, Narwal, Singhraj Adhana, Rahul Jakhar and Akash will be in action in P4 - mixed 50m pistol SH1 event. On Tuesday, Sriharsha Devaraddi Ramakrishna became the second Indian para shooter to earn a quota for the Paris Paralympics after securing a gold medal in mixed 10m air rifle SH2 event. Ramakrishna produced a final score of 253.1 to claim the yellow metal, while Slovakia's Francek Tirsek (252.6) and Tanguy De La Forest (230.3) bagged the silver and bronze.
Ramakrishna thus followed the extraordinary show of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Avani Lekhara, who set a new world record en route clinching the gold medal. In the R2 - women's 10m air rifle standing finals, Lekhara, the 20-year-old from Rajasthan, shot a final score of 250.6 to break her own world record of 249.6 and take the gold ahead of Poland's Emilia Babska (247.6) and Anna Normann of Sweden (225.6).
"This event is very important for me as it is the first event after Tokyo. It will help me understand the progress that I've made on various aspects that I have been working on since then," Lekhara told the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI). "It is also my first international event with my new equipment and this will help me analyse my game further and know further adjustments that need to be made!
Lekhara, the two-time Tokyo 2020 medallist, said her "target for the year is to consistently analyse my game and improve the little bits." "To be a consistent shooter is my aim and hopefully win medals along the way too." India has been represented by 13 para shooters at this season opening World Cup in Chateauroux, France.