Teenage Indian rifle shooter Nischal won silver in the Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions (3P) at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol stage in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday to give India a second medal on the final day of the tournament.
In her very first senior world cup final, Nischal finished behind Norwegian Rifle ace Jeanette Hegg Duestad with a score of 458.0 in the final. Duestad is the reigning Air Rifle European Champion and 300m 3P World Champion and has 12 ISSF World Cup medals to her name including five gold. She was also fourth in the Tokyo Olympics in Air Rife.
Nischal, who is in her first senior year and has three international medals at the junior level, broke the qualification national record in Women’s 3P. “It is my first world cup final and I have a medal, so I am very happy for that,” the teenager said.
The competition began with the elimination rounds in the morning where a total of 18 shooters were eliminated over two rounds featuring 73 athletes. She shot 587 in relay one to safely make it to qualification. So did her two compatriots, previous qualification national record holder Anjum Moudgil and Ayushi Podder, both of whom shot in relay two.
In qualification, Nischal shot 592 including a perfect 200 in the prone position, to erase Anjum’s score of 591, shot at the President’s Cup in Cairo last year. Anjum herself shot 586, but finished 10th to miss the final by a point. Ayushi was further back in 35th with 580.
Besides Duestad, the final featured qualification topper (594) and world champion Wanru Miao of China, 2018 Youth Olympic champion Stephanie Grundsoee of Denmark, Italian Olympian Sofia Ceccarello and senior Polish shooter Aneta Stankiewicz, among others.
Nischal went head-to-head with Duestad from get go of the 45-shot final. She was 0.1 behind the Norwegian after the first 15 kneeling shots and the same after the consequent 15 shots in the prone position.
By the time Ukranian Viktoriya Sukhorukova and Swiss shooter Chiara Leone became the first ones to be eliminated after the opening 10-shots in the standing position, Duestad had opened up a gap of 0.7 over the Indian.
A 9.4 by the Norwegian for her 41st shot was cancelled out by a 9.0 from Nischal for her 42nd and the gap widened to 1.1. An 8.4 for the 43rd almost cost her a medal, but Wanru still fell short of the Indian and bowed out in fourth. Thereafter, Stephanie Grundsoee, who had moved up to second, shot a 7.9 in her 44th shot, assuring Nischal of silver and herself settling for bronze. Duestad closed out calmly for gold with a 10.2 and a score of 461.5, a clear 3.5 ahead of the Haryana shooter.
In the other medal event on the final day, Gurpreet Singh shot 574 to finish 15th in the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol.
The 16-member Indian contingent thus returned with one gold and one silver from the Rio World Cup and finished in seventh position in the standings.
Italy topped the world cup with two gold medals while China was second with one gold, but the most eight medals overall.