Shooters Arjun Babuta, Tilottama Sen Bag Paris Olympics Quotas For India
Arjun Babuta and Tilottama Sen bagged the shooting squad's ninth and 10th Paris 2024 Olympics quota places, on yet another golden day for India at the ongoing 15th Asian Shooting Championship in Changwon
Arjun Babuta and Tilottama Sen bagged the shooting squad's ninth and 10th Paris 2024 Olympics quota places, on yet another golden day for India at the ongoing 15th Asian Shooting Championship in Changwon. Both the junior and senior Skeet Mixed Team pairs struck gold, as did the men's 10m air rifle team 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. They have now won three from this edition of the premier continental championship.
Ramita Jindal also won an impressive bronze in the women's air rifle and the trio of Tilottama, Shriyanka Sadangi and herself also won the team bronze in the event. Divyansh Singh Panwar too shot well in the men's air rifle, missing out with a fourth-place finish.
The Indian men's air rifle team comprising Hriday Hazarika in addition to Arjun and Divyansh, however, struck gold with a tally of 1892.4, an impressive 4.1 ahead of China. Japan won bronze. The women's team tallied 1886.2.
"I don't remember the last time I was this happy," quipped Arjun Babuta, a top shooter now for some time, after a momentous silver, finishing behind Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Sheng Lihao of China. His 251.2, 0.9 behind the Chinese ace. "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," the grounded marksman said signing off at the same range, where he had won a World Cup gold last year.
Earlier, Arjun topped qualification with a massive 633.4, while Divyash was equally impressive, finishing third with a 632.3. Hriday was 21st with a 626.7.
Tilottama too expressed satisfaction after the heartbreak at the Baku Worlds, where she had agonisingly finished fourth. "I had lots of issues in qualification today and to overcome that come up with this result. Yes, I would say I am satisfied," said the teenager after shooting a strong final (252.3) to clinch the medal and the quota place.
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 Kwon Eunji to get in to the top two and Ramita found herself bowing out in third. Kwon carried the momentum all the way to gold, with Tilottama missing by an agonising 0.1.
Indian shooters participating for ranking points only also shot well with Sri Karthik Sabari Raj, Rudrankksh Patil, Elavenil Valarivan and Nancy all shooting scores within the top eight range.
In the first day of qualifications in the women's 25m pistol, Manu Bhaker led the field with a strong 297 out of 300 in the first precision round.
Golden day at the Shotgun ranges
India enacted a sweep of the gold medals at the Shotgun ranges in Changwon, winning both the junior and senior Mixed Team events.
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 also struck 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.