Rifle Shooters Arjun, Tilottama Bag Olympic Berths With Silver Medals In Asian Championships
Indian shooters Arjun Babuta and Tilottama Sen earned two Paris Olympic quota places by clinching silver medals in the men's and women's 10m air rifle events respectively
Indian shooters Arjun Babuta and Tilottama Sen earned two Paris Olympic quota places by clinching silver medals in the men's and women's 10m air rifle events respectively, at the ongoing Asian Championships in Changwon, Korea on Friday. The 24-year-old Babuta also helped the team which included Divyansh Singh Panwar and Hriday Hazarika to clinch the gold medal with an aggregate score of 1892.4. Babuta became the ninth Indian shooter overall to clinch an Olympic quota place.
"I don't remember the last time I was this happy. It has been a calculated, planned team effort with all the coaches, psychologists and everyone from Pierre, Thomas and Suma (Shirur) ma'am all getting together. We visualised this and now the effort will be on getting better- a lot of things still need to be improved," Babuta said.
The 15-year-old Tilottama followed suit as she shot a total of 252.3 in the women's final to fetch the 10th Olympic quota place for India.
Tilottama narrowly missed out on the gold as she finished behind Kwon Eunji of Korea, who shot 252.4. Her compatriot Ramita Jindal bagged the bronze with an effort of 230.6.
"I had lots of issues in qualification today and to overcome that come up with this result. Yes, I would say I am satisfied," Tilottama said.
She had qualified in fourth place among contenders with a score of 630.5, while Ramita shot 629.5 to take the seventh qualifying spot.
In the final, Tilottama started the strongest of the two Indians, but there was a point when Ramita was looking to lead an Indian 1-2 finish. That changed after the 22nd shot when a 9.9 from Ramita enabled Korean Eunji to get in to the top two and Ramita found herself bowing out in third.
Indian shooters have bagged seven quota places in rifle, two in shotgun and just one in pistol. Three of those quota places have come from the ongoing continental championship.
Babuta, who hails from Chandigarh but trains at the National Centre of Excellence for shooting sport at the Karni Singh Ranges, also locked the second and final Olympic quota for the country in 10m air rifle, with compatriot Rudrankksh Patil being the first - in 2022 World Championships at Cairo.
A country can win a maximum of two quota places in a particular shooting event.
Babuta shot 251.2 in the eight-shooter final to finish behind silver medallist at the 2022 Tokyo Olympics, China's Sheng Lihao, who shot 252.1.
Divyansh too made it to the final but finished fourth, scoring 209.6.
Babuta shot a superb 633.4 in the qualification round to top the field, while Panwar was third with a score of 632.3. Two other Indian shooters, Ravishankar Karthik (631.5) and Rudrankksh (630.8) also shot fine scores to be among the top-eight.
But Karthik and Rudrankksh could not enter the eight-player final as they were competing for ranking points only (RPO) and were thus not eligible.
For the team gold, where only the qualification round scores are considered, Babuta shot 633.4, Divyansh 632.3 and Hazarika 626.7 to aggregate 1892.4 and pushed China to second spot with a score of 1887.3. Japan were third with a score of 1883.6.
The trio of Tilottama, Shriyanka Sadangi and Ramita also won the bronze in the women's 10m air rifle team event.
Indian shooters sweep skeet mixed team events
The senior and junior skeet mixed team pairs struck gold as India had a six-medal day to take their tally to eight gold, seven silver and four bronze medals with five more days of competitions and seven possible quota places left to be won.
Anant Jeet Singh Naruka and Darshna Rathore made the gold medal match with a total of 139, winning a 10-shot shoot-off. They then defeated Kuwait's Abdullah Alrashidhi Eman Al Shamaa 40-37 in the title round for a famous win. Angad Bajwa and Parinaaz Dhaliwal were ninth overall.
Harmehar Lally and Raiza Dhillon clinched the gold in the junior mixed team skeet with a combined effort of 131 in qualification which enabled them to top a seven-team field. Then then took out China 39-29 in the final. Rituraj Bundela and Sanjana Sood finished fourth.
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