India's Saurabh Chaudhury and Manu Bhaker show silver lining in shooting ahead of Olympics
Saurabh and Manu clinched the first silver medal at the ongoing 2021 ISSF World Cup in the 10m air pistol mixed event.
The mixed event matches were conducted at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Croatia. Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker missed their gold medal-winning record by a whisker in 10m air pistol mixed event.
The 10m air pistol and rifle mixed events were competed. The Tokyo-bound shooters were expected to clinch medals based on their track records. Since the introduction of the event, Indians have been dominating the medal charts.
With Tokyo Olympics less than a month away, the competition level at the world cup has been at the highest levels. Olympians and world champions have been producing extraordinary scores.
Saurabh and Manu win silver missed out on the Gold
The sensational Indian shooting duo of Manu and Saurabh has been dominating the 10m air pistol mixed event. After winning the gold medal five times, they were the favorites to win. However, the level of competition was intense and close in Croatia today.
The Russian team comprising Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov defeated the Indian duo. Albeit, the match was a neck-to-neck game.
On one side was Olympic silver medalist Vitalina and on the other were the world record holders Manu and Saurabh. The pressure and level of shooters increased the heat of the match.
The match at many points came to a level where predicting the winner was a tough call. But, the Russians defeated Indians by 16-12. In the end, Indians were leading by one point, but the Russians then took back-to-back two points winning the match.
Manu Bhaker shot 8.9 and 9.7 in her last two shots and looked quite disappointed. Saurabh also didn't have his best outing today as he shot 9's.
Nevertheless, with the intensity of competition, shooters could still reach the top two. Especially, after beating Iran's Javad Foroughi who has now defeated Saurabh two times to clinch the gold medal in the men's events.
Abhishek and Yashaswini miss out on the Bronze medal
Another Indian 10m air pistol duo in the fray, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, and Abhishek Verma, also made it to the top 4. The Indians went up against the Iranian's for the bronze medal match. The Iran team comprising Javad Foroughi and Golnoush Sebghatollahi outnumbered Indians by 17-7.
While Yashaswini didn't have her best outing as she shot 8's in the final, Abhishek Verma had a decent outing. Notably, Javad Foroughi has been producing incredible shooting in 2021.
10m air rifle team fail to reach the finals
Indian rifle favorites and world top shooters, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan competed in the 10m air rifle mixed event. However, the duo missed out on the finals by finishing at the sixth position.
The duo shot a combined score of 416.1. They couldn't make it to the finals; however, Elavenil produced a good score.
Valarivan shot 210.6, which was 1.9 points more than Hungary's women shooter Eszter Meszaros who eventually won the gold with Istvan Peni. Divyansh Singh Panwar has not been in his best form as he shot 205.5.
While another Tokyo-bound Indian shooter Anjum Moudgil and Deepak Kumar finished at the 15th position in the first qualification round. They couldn't advance for the second round.
In the 10m event, Russia, Hungary, and Iran have been giving a tough competition to the Indian contingent at the ongoing world cup. Indians are yet to face Olympic powerhouses China and South Korea who have been skipping the world cups.
The performances at Croatia don't look very positive for Indians. The pressure of the Olympics coming up has been evident in some performances.
However, the medals have been missed by a margin in many events.
That's the beauty and difficulty level of shooting sport that even 0.1 points can make it or break it for shooters.
With the Tokyo Olympics still, 26 days away, the Indian team has the time to level up their game. A lot of the shooters are still very near or consistent with their scores. And in the end, what matters is reaching their peak performances during Tokyo Olympics 2021.