Rahi Sarnobat clinches gold in ISSF World Cup
New Delhi: Rahi Sarnobat scripted history on Friday by becoming the first Indian pistol shooter to clinch a gold medal in the ISSF World Cup when she pipped local hope Kyeongae Kim 8-6 in the final of the 25m sports pistol event in Changwon, Korea.
Rahi joined the elite club of rifle shooters -- Anjali Bhagwat, Gagan Narang, Sanjeev Rajput, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ronjan Sodhi and Manavjit Singh Sandhu -- who have won gold medals in the ISSF World Cups for India.
"It is a dream come true for me. I had been working hard with coach Anatoli Puddubny for the last few months at the Gun for Glory Academy and I am thankful to Lakshya and Vascon for the support they are providing me in this respect," said Rahi, who had earlier won a bronze medal in the 2011 ISSF World Cup in USA.
The Indian markswoman, who had qualified for the semifinal stage in fourth position with a total score of 585, sealed her final berth as the second best semi-finalist with 15 points.
Kim topped the standings with 16 after the five series.
According to the new competition rules, top eight players from the preliminaries qualify for the semifinals where points are given according to the number of inner 10s scored by a shooter in each series of five shots.
The top two shooters then qualify for the final, while the third and fourth-placed shooters face each other in the Bronze medal play-off.
In the race-to-seven points final, a player gets two points for winning the series, while a point each is given if both the shooters are tied.
After two tied series, Rahi was first to get off the block in the third and opened up a two-point lead. But Kim hit back immediately, winning the next two series take a 6-4 lead and push the Indian to the corner.
Facing a must-win situation, Rahi upped the ante while her opponent struggled to keep her composure and lost the sixth and seventh series 3-1 and 2-1 respectively to hand the gold to the Indian.
It was, however, a disappointing end for the other Indian challengers. 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anisa Sayyed finished 21st with a score of 572, while national champion Sushma Singh managed a score of 570 to finish 26th.
In the 10m Air Rifle event, none of the three Indian contenders managed to reach the final with national champion Apurvi Chandela finishing 30th with a total score of 407.8.
Pooja Ghatkar was India`s best performer with a score of 410.3 while Elizabeth Susan Koshy managed to shoot a score of 409.4 to finish 25th.