New Delhi: Divya T.S and Sarabjot Singh, emerged third-time lucky as a pair, winning gold in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Shooting on competition Day Two, the Indian pair who had finished fifth in two earlier World Cup stages in Cairo and Bhopal respectively, broke through with a fine 581 to top the 55-team qualification, thereby assuring them of a medal and a spot in the gold medal match.
In the final against Serbian legends Damir Mikec and Zorana Arunovic, the Indians held their own to pull off a nerve-wracking 16-14 win.
It was the second ISSF World Cup gold for Sarabjot in back-to-back ISSF World Cups, having won the individual air pistol in Bhopal in March, while for Divya it was a first senior World Cup medal. Ismail Keles and Simal Yilmaz of Turkey won bronze.
In qualification, Divya and Sarabjot were detailed in the second relay after India’s second pair Esha Singh and Varun Tomar, had shot a combined 578 in the first, placing them third provisionally.
After Divya and Sarabjot’s relay, however, they finished fifth overall, missing out on a shot at bronze by a point. Three pairs in fact finished on the same score of 581, but Divya and Sarabjot were classified as top with 24 inner-10s on their card. Damir and Zorana were second with 19 inner-10s while the Turkish player were third with 16 inner-10s to their name.
The Indians began the final on a strong note with two identical 10.5s in the first series of single shots to take a 2-0 lead.
However, 13-series later, in which there were two tied series as well as a series (fifth) where both men and both women shot identical shots, both teams stood tied at 14-14. With the 15th winner-takes-all-series on the line, Sarabjot came up with the goods to fire a 10.6 while Divya backed him up with a 9.9. However, even though Damir shot a 10.3, Zorana faltered with an 8.6 as the Indians pulled off a famous victory.
China 1-2 in the air rifle mixed team
It was all China in the first medal event of the day, the 10m air rifle mixed team.
Huang Yuting and Sheng Lihao defeated compatriots Wang Zhilin and Yang Haoran in what was the first 16-14 gold medal match scoreline of the day. The Czech Republic won bronze as both Indian pairs in the event could not make it to the medal rounds.
While Tilottama Sen and Hriday Hazarika shot a combined 627.6 for a 17th-place finish, Ramita and Rudrankksh Patil were further down in 28th having shot a score of 626.3.
India currently are placed second in the medal tally with one gold and one bronze medal as China move to the top with one gold and one silver to their name so far. There are six more gold medals to be decided over the next three days of competition.