Bhanwala’s Olympic chances dim, Sidhu gets silver

It was heartbreak for teenage shooter Anish Bhanwala even as Vijayveer Sidhu walked away with glory, winning silver in the men’s 25 metres rapid fire pistol competition at the ongoing World Cup being held here at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges on Friday.

A podium finish for the 18-year-old Bhanwala could have brightened his chances of securing an individual quota place for the Tokyo Olympic Games starting July 23. But the Haryana shooter finished fifth.

On the other hand, a steady performance by Sidhu in the final gave him his first medal at the senior level. In the 40-shot final match, the 18-year-old Sidhu scored 26 to tie up with Peeter Olesk of Poland for the gold medal. In the shoot-off, Sidhu shot one while Olesk scored four to take home the gold medal.

The Indian team got 15 Olympic quota places during the qualification period that ended November 2019. While two places are in men’s skeet, the remaining 13 are in rifle and pistol.

India had not earned a quota place in 25m rapid pistol event. However, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Bhanwala, ranked 12 in the world, had a chance of earning an individual quota since the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) allows individual quota place for shooters belonging to a country that hasn’t earned a quota in a discipline. Friday’s performance has turned his chances bleak and he will now have to wait for the official announcement from ISSF on his individual quota place on May 31.