New Delhi, March 4 (PTI): Unheralded Indian shooter Shahzar Rizvi clinched the gold medal with a world record score in a memorable maiden ISSF World Cup appearance, while Jitu Rai and Mehuli Ghosh bagged a bronze each in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Meerut-based Rizvi shot a world record 242.3 in the 10m air pistol event’s final to beat reigning Olympic champion Christian Reitz of Germany, 239.7, to win the top prize. Pistol ace Rai won the bronze in the event with a score of 219, as three Indians made it to the finals of the season’s first World Cup. Om Prakash Mitharval, the other Indian shooter in the event, finished at creditable fourth position with a score of 198.4 points. Mehuli, also a senior World Cup debutant, added to India’s medal tally as she shot a world junior record 228.4 to win bronze in the women’s 10m air rifle event. In this women’s event too, three Indian shooters progressed to the final. Anjum Moudgil finished at fourth position with 208.6 points, while Apurvi Chandela was seventh in the standings with 144.1 points. India had a fruitful opening day in the competition as they won three medals – a gold and two bronze. Shahzar finished second in the qualifying, behind Reitz, shooting 579 to the German’s 588 after 60-shots. Rai was one behind Shahzar with 578, while Om Prakash shot 576 to qualify in fourth place. While Jitu and Om Prakash maintained their positions at the end of the finals, Shahzar turned the tables on Reitz in style, staying ahead of the classy German throughout the length of the 24-shot final. In the women’s 10m air rifle final, Mehuli and Anjum were in medal contention from the beginning, and after a sea-saw battle between the two a 9.9 on the 17th shot meant Anjum ended in fourth position with a score of 208.6. Mehuli won bronze while China’s Hong Xu won silver with 251.0. Romania’s Laura Georgeta Coman, who won gold in the Munich World Cup last year and a silver at the World Cup Finals, came up with a classy display, leading throughout to win the gold medal with 251.5. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh lauded the efforts of his shooters. “I am thrilled that our faith in youngsters are giving results. This was a stupendous performance particularly from Shahzar as not only did he win gold in his first senior World Cup, but did so with a world record score. “Mehuli also needs to be equally nodded as she is still a junior and to come up with a junior world record and a medal on debut at a senior World Cup is no mean feat,” Raninder said.
The NRAI chief added, “We have key international events lined up throughout the year and a performance like this by youngsters of the squad bodes well,” Raninder added.