Shooting World Championship: Rajeshwari finishes fifth in trap, wins India’s 7th Paris quota

Rajeshwari Kumari became the second-ever Indian shooter to win an Olympic quota place in the Women’s Trap event after she finished fifth in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship (All Events) at Baku, Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Rajeshwari Kumari became the second-ever Indian shooter to win an Olympic quota place in the Women’s Trap event after she finished fifth in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship (All Events) at Baku, Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Shooting in the Azerbaijan capital, after setting a national record score of 120 (beating her own record of 118) in the qualification round, India No.1 Rajeshwari finished with 19 hits from the first 30-targets of the six-woman 50-shot final to snare India’s seventh Paris 2024 quota place in Shooting.

Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yi Chun won gold with 40 hits to 39 of Italy’s Jessica Rossi, the 2012 London Olympic Games winner and three-time world champion, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) informed in a release on Thursday.

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“I am feeling great. It’s unbelievable. It’s finally done. It’s done for the country. I mean I wish I could win a medal but this is great. Paris…,” said Rajeshwari as she signed off with a smile in her first reaction after the final.

Also sharing his thoughts was her proud father, renowned sports administrator and a former Olympian in the event and presently the interim President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Randhir Singh, who said, “It is certainly a proud day for me and the family. She first qualified for the Asian Games, of which we were very proud, and now she has won an Olympic quota. She carries on a family legacy.”

India also won a bronze medal in the team competition of the Men’s 25m Center-Fire Pistol event, when Rajendra Bagul, Akshay Jain and Gaurav Chaudhary shot a combined 1718 to finish behind Germany (1743) and Korea (1731).

India is now placed third on the medal tally with five gold and five bronze medals behind powerhouses China and USA.

India thus ended their engagements in the Olympic events with one gold (10m Air Pistol Mixed Team) and two bronze (10m Air Rifle Women and 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men) medals and four (five if you consider the Air Rifle Mixed Team spot that they picked up with Mehuli’s bronze) Paris 2024 Olympic quotas and seven finalists.

Rajeshwari’s feat

The six finalists, besides former double trap world champion and four-time Olympian Lin, Jessica and Rajeshwari, included two-time Tokyo Olympics medallist Alessandra Perilli of San Marino, multiple ISSF World Cup medallist Cuicui Wu of China and Kathrin Murche of Germany.

With Rossi ineligible for a quota, Rajeshwari held her nerve under blustery conditions and did enough to bag the coveted quota place.

Rajeshwari hit her first target of the final, whereas three finalists missed that. With shooters missing the birds all around due to the challenging conditions, the Indian then missed her second, seventh 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th targets.

She then had a five out of five for her fourth series to move up to fourth place with 14 hits with Perilli and Wu trailing her. Jessica Rossi led the pack with 18 hits.

In the first elimination series with the pressure building up, Rajeshwari nailed the 24th bird to confirm safety and the historic quota. She was fifth at the end of 25-targets with 16-hits to her name with Perilli bowing out in sixth with 15 and Jessica still in the lead.

The other Indians in the field who could not make the final included Manisha Keer, who was 23rd with 115, and Preeti Rajak, who shot 109 for a 58th-place finish. In the women’s team competition, they collectively finished fifth.

In the men’s competition, Prithviraj Tondaiman shot the best among the Indians and finished 23rd with a score of 121. He shot rounds of 25 and 24 on the day.

Olympian Kynan Chenai was 51st with 119 while Zoravar Sandhu was 70th with 117. India already has one quota in the Men’s Trap through Bhowneesh Mendiratta. The team was 11th in the team competition.

(IANS)

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