Jasmine Ser Xian Wei of Singapore stole the thunder from the Iranian shooters as she won her maiden gold at the Asian level in the women’s air rifle event in the eighth Asian Air Gun championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Monday.
Ayonika Paul salvaged some pride for the host by winning the bronze.
After qualifying in fourth place with a modest 414.9, the Singaporean led throughout the final to beat favourite Elaheh Ahmadi of Iran, the qualification topper, by 1.5 point. World Cup Final silver medallist Apurvi Chandela finished eighth, while defending champion Pooja Ghatkar was pushed to fifth.
For World Cup medallist Ayonika, who had former world record holder and Olympic finalist Suma Shirur as her coach, it was a welcome medal that would boost her confidence for the Asian Championship in Kuwait that offers the final set of Olympic quota places in November.
There was another Indian who did very well in the qualification with the second best score of 417.6, but Elizabeth Susan Koshy who has been close to getting the Olympic quota place in the rifle 50-metre 3-position event, was in the MQS section.
For Iran, with the former Indian coach Laszlo Szucsak of Hungary as its coach, the gold was there for the asking. But in a judicious attempt, it opted not to put all the best shooters in one event.
Thus the Asian Games gold medallist Najmeh Khedmati, who has also won the Olympic quota, was fielded in the junior event, in which she beat compatriot Fatemeh Karamzadeh by 0.6 for the gold with a world record equalling score of 208.9.
Of course, the world record would not be ratified as the technical officials maintained that the junior event needed a minimum of 10 entries. The field had only seven entries. Interestingly, Najmeh herself has the world junior record of 207.9.
Shriyanka Sadangi did well to pull her way to the bronze medal, and thus stopped a clean sweep by the Iranians in the junior event, after Maryam Shafiel Pour had got past Mampi Das and Mandeep Popli.
There were only two countries in the fray, and thus India was not given a medal in the team event.
Local girl Aashi Rastogi gave a lot to cheer for the host in the morning by clinching the youth gold medal, while Prachi Gadkari hung on to the bronze.
Another talented Iranian, Seyadeh Roya Sobhkhiz looked to have things under control, but she slipped marginally with her last shots, while Aashi fired a 10.9 penultimate shot and followed that up with a 10.4 to win by 0.2 point.
The results: 10m air rifle: Women: 1. Jasmine Ser Xian Wei (Sin) 208.1 (414.9); 2. Elaheh Ahmadi (Iri) 206.6 (419.3); 3. Ayonika Paul 185.0 (413.6); 5. Pooja Ghatkar 143.3 (412.8); 8. Apurvi Chandela 81.3 (415.0). MQS: Elizabeth Susan Koshy 417.6.
Team: 1. Iran 1247.7; 2. India 1241.4; 3. Korea 1231.3.
Juniors: 1. Najmeh Khedmati (Iri) 208.9 (418.8); 2. Fatemeh Karamzadeh (Iri) 208.3 (414.5); 3. Shriyanka Sadani 185.4 (410.0); 5. Mandeep Popli 140.2 (411.9); 6. Mampi Das 119.4 (410.3). MQS:Nina Chandel 409.5; Meenakshi Sheoran 399.3.
Team: 1. Iran 1244.4; 2. India 1232.2.
Youth: 1. Aashi Rastogi 205.7 (411.2); 2. Seyadeh Roya Sobhkhiz (Iri) 205.5 (416.5); 3. Prachi Gadkari 183.6 (407.0); 9. Gayatri Pawaskar 406.9. MQS: Ayushi Podder 408.8; Gargi Sirsat 399.4.
Team: 1. Chinese Taipei 1235.1; 2. Iran 1228.3; 3. India 1225.1.