Sydney, March 28 (IANS) Muskan Bhanwala delivered India’s ninth gold medal at the Shooting Junior World Cup as she topped the women’s 25 metres Pistol event here on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old shot a total of 35 hits to overcome Chinese Qin Sihang and Thailand’s Kanyakorn Hirunphoem, who respectively took silver and bronze on the concluding day of this World Cup edition.
Muskan, who finished fourth at last year’s ISSF Junior World Championship in Suhl, Germany, took the lead at the end of the sixth round, as she nailed a perfect 5-hit series and found herself sitting on a three-point advantage over her closest rival, Sihang.
Muskan successfully defended that lead throughout the rest of the final, taking gold with 35 hits, while Qin finished with 34. It’s the first ISSF medal for both the Indian and the Chinese junior shooter.
The bronze medal was awarded to Thailand’s 16-year-old Kanyakorn Hirunphoem, currently ranked 62nd in the world in this event and bearing a six-start World Cup experience. The Thai shooter – silver medallist in the Air Pistol event four days ago – finished with 26 hits and pocketed her second medal in Sydney.
Muskan’s compatriot 16-year-old Manu Bhaker finished fourth with 18 hits. She survived a shoot-off at the end of the sixth series against Chinese Zhu Siying, who then took the sixth spot with 12 hits.
Fellow Chinese Xiao Jiaruixuan was fifth with 14 hits, in spite of a two-point penalty given to her for early loading.
Finally, two first-time participants – India’s 18-year-old Arunima Gaur and China’s Li Xue – respectively took seventh place with eight hits and eighth place with seven hits.
The top of the team event podium was taken by India’s Bhaker, Muskan and Devanshi Rana, while their country-mates Gaur, Mahima Turhi Agrawal and Tanu Rawal secured silver. Thailand’s Hirunphoem, Viramon Kidarn and Luxciga Srinitivoravong were third.
Meanwhile, in the final event of the World Cup, Anant Jeet Naruka finished fifth in the men’s skeet competition with a score of 24 while China’s Xuyang Duo bagged gold with 58 hits — a junior world record.
With the gold medals, India stood second in the medals tally at the ISSF World Cup with a total of 22 medals — nine golds, five silvers and eight bronze — behind China’s 25 who also bagged nine gold medals.