Guadalajara (Mexico), March 12 (IANS) India topped the medals tally for the very first time in an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) competition, after finishing the World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage here with four gold, one silver and four bronze for a total of nine medals.
In the concluding event of the World Cup on Sunday, the three Indians in the Men’s Skeet competition, however failed to reach the podium with Smit Singh shooting 116 in qualifying to finish at the 15th spot, Angad Bajwa shot 115 to end in 18th while Sheeraz Sheikh secured the 30th spot with a score of 112.
Two time Olympic Champion Vincent Hancock of the US won the Men’s Skeet competition. Hancock, who had won gold in Men’s Skeet at the Beijing and London Olympics, had gone into a bit of a slump after winning the 2015 World Championships and completed a comeback of sorts into the winner’s circle with this win here.
He did it in style by first topping qualification with a sublime 123 out of 125 and then followed it up in the final, with a world record equalling 59 out of 60. He was however matched by Paul Adams of Australia and finally got the better of him 6-5 in a shoot-off for gold and silver.
Italy’s Tammaro Cassandro settled for the bronze with 49 hits in the final.
India’s Smit was placed seventh at the start of the day and stood a chance of qualifying but rounds of 22,23 and 23 ended all hopes. Bajwa was the best Indian shooter of the day returning rounds of 24, 25 and 24 but he had dropped too far behind on day one of qualifying and Sheikh did not look in his element in this competition.
The Indian contingent will however leave Guadalajara a happy lot as for the first time in the history of the sport, they have emerged triumphant in a global event and had become the talk of the competition thanks mainly to the exploits of young guns like Shahzar Rizvi, Manu Bhaker, Akhil Sheoran, Om Prakash Mitharval, Anjum Moudgil and Mehuli Ghosh apart from facile performances from senior stars like Jitu Rai, Ravi Kumar and even Sanjeev Rajput, for that matter who did not win a medal but shot very well to just miss out and finish fourth.