India's medal rush continued on the second day of competition at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Rio de Janeiro as Abhishek Verma and Saurabh Chaudhary won gold and bronze respectively in the men's 10m air pistol event. Sanjeev Rajput also won a silver in the men's 50m rifle 3 positions event.
While Verma and Chaudhary had already won a maximum possible two quota places for the 10m air pistol event for the Olympics earlier this year, Rajput's silver assures India of a quota place for the men's 50m rifle 3 positions place at the Olympics.
Interestingly, Rajput has also earned a quota in the same event for the previous Olympics in Rio, but the quota was eventually swapped for a men's trap quota place that was given to Manavjit Singh Sandhu.
Verma's gold means that India has won gold in this event at each on the four World Cups this year. Verma won a gold in the Beijing World Cup earlier this year, while Chaudhary won gold in New Delhi and Munich. Shahzar Rizvi (Guadalajara, 2014) and Jitu Rai (Maribor, 2014) are the other two Indians to win gold in this event at a World Cup.
Verma and Chaudhary shot scores of 244.2 and 221.9 respectively in the final and were separated by Turkey's Ismail Keles, who won silver with a score of 243.1. With this win, Verma is the second Indian after Chaudhary to win two golds in this event at a World Cup.
Chaudhary and Verma finished fourth and fifth respectively in the qualification round after scoring 584 and 582. The other Indian in action in this event, Gaurav Rana, finished 44th with a score of 571.
The 17-year old Chaudhary, who is currently ranked second in the world, also won gold at the Youth Olympic Games, Junior World Championships and Asian Games last year and has now won a medal in each of his first three appearances at a World Cup. This is his sixth World Cup medal this year. He has also won three 10m air pistol mixed team golds with Manu Bhaker at each of the three previous World Cups this year in New Delhi, Munich and Beijing.
This is world no. 4 Verma's second medal at a World Cup. He had previously won bronze in the same event at the Asian Games last year.
Earlier, Rajput qualified for the final after finishing second in the qualification round with a score of 1180. Chain Singh and Parul Kumar finished 49th and 57th with respectively with scores of 1161 and 1148. Rajput then scored 462 in the final to win silver behind Croatia's Petar Gorsa. China's Changhong Zhang won bronze with a tally of 449.2 points.
This is 38-year old Rajput's third medal at a World Cup. He had previously won a gold in this event in Changwon in 2011 and a silver in Baku in 2016. He also won a silver in the men's 10m air rifle event in Sydney in 2010. He represented India at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics and is now set to go to the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Rajput is also one of only three Indians to medal in this event at a World Cup, the other being Gagan Narang and Akhil Sheoran. Narang won gold in Changwon in 2009, while Sheoran won gold in Guadalajara in 2018.