Indian shooter Akhil Sheoran clinched a bronze medal in the men's 50m 3 positions (3P) event at the ISSF World Cup in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday.
Already a Paris Olympic quota winner, this was the second career World Cup medal for Akhil.
Akhil shot 451.8 in the eight-man 45-shot final, after qualifying second with a score of 589. The seasoned Jiri Privratsky of the Czech Republic won gold with 462.9, while France’s double junior world champion Romain Aufrere won silver finishing with 460.5.
The effort meant that India concluded their engagements at the season-opening World Cup stage with medals of every colour. Their final tally read two gold, three silver, and one bronze medal as they yet again topped another ISSF World Cup stage.
Akhil’s first shot of 10.3 in the Kneeling position was second-best in the eight-man field. He maintained his second position after 10 as Italian Lorenzo Bacci took over the lead with reigning air rifle world champion Victor Lindgren rising to third, just 0.1 behind the Indian. Firing a perfect 10.9 for his 15th and final Kneeling position shot gave Akhil the lead for the first time in the match.
Akhil was 0.1 ahead of Aufrere at that stage and a second 10.9 for his 10th shot in the second Prone position extended that lead to 0.4, as the duo began putting a little gap between them and the field.
Sheoran’s third 10.9 was the very next, the 26th and Aufrere also began giving way. By the end of the 15 Prone shots, Akhil’s tally of 312.5 was a healthy 1.9 ahead of Aufrere. His final Prone series was a scorching 53.5.
Standing is where things change dramatically in 3P and it did on the day as well for the first time in the match, Akhil fired shots in the nine-ring. When Kazakh Konstantin Malinovskiy and Lindgren were first to be eliminated after 40 shots, Aufrere overtook Akhil by 0.3.
Privratsky was also surging and Akhil managed to clinch bronze as a final shot of 7.9 by Aufrere gave Privratsky gold.
Among other Indian shooters, Shriyanka Sadangi finished 18th in women's 50m 3P while Deepak Kumar finished 16th and Neeraj Kumar finished 24th in men's 50m 3P event.