NEW DELHI: All the talk before Friday’s final in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol in the shooting World Cup here centered around India’s Anish Bhanwala. In the offing was the country’s possible 16th quota place in shooting for the Tokyo Olympics. Three Indians had qualified for the six-man final – Anish, Vijayveer Sidhu and Gurpreet Singh, but the focus remained firmly on Bhanwala. He needed outright gold to secure the quota.
While Anish failed spectacularly, finishing a lowly fifth, Vijayveer made a brilliant seniors debut to clinch the silver after going down 1-4 in a shoot-off against Estonia’s Peeter Olesk. Both Vijayveer and Olesk had finished on 26 points after the completion of the eighth competition series. Poland’s Oskar Miliwek (20 points) settled for bronze. Gurpreet (9 points) had earlier bowed out of the final in the sixth place.
Vijayveer will now have to wait for how the Estonians perform at the European Championships, scheduled in Osijek, Croatia from May 20-June 6, to harbour any outside hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Games. Olesk has assured himself of a quota by virtue of his gold-winning performance. If Olesk, the current world number three, or his Estonian teammates manage a quota through the championships, then the former would surrender his New Delhi WC quota. A country can have a maximum of two quotas in one Olympic event. Vijayveer would qualify based on his improved world ranking. The silver propelled him to his career-best world ranking of seventh, while Anish, too, broke into the top-10.
In another Olympic event, the men’s trap, India’s Kynan Chenai needed to win gold to stake a claim for the Tokyo berth but finished fourth behind Italian and Spanish shooters. Kynan bowed out in the third elimination series after hitting a total of 27 targets. In the non-Olympic category events, India claimed two gold. Tejaswini Sawant and Sanjeev Rajput paired up to win the day’s first gold in the 50m rifle 3 positions mixed team event, beating the Ukrainians. Later, Chain Singh, Swapnil Kusale and Niraj Kumar combined to bag the gold in the men’s 3P team event.