Indian shooting sensation Manu Bhaker continued her terrific run of form, claiming the gold medal after prevailing over Thailand’s Kanyakorn Hirunphoem in a thrilling final of the women’s 10m air pistol event at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney.
Coming off a double gold in her maiden senior World Cup in Mexico recently, the 16-year-old Manu shot 235.9 to finish top of the podium, while Hirunphoem had to be contend with silver after scoring 234.9.
Chinese Kaiman Lu (214.2) completed the podium by winning the bronze.
Another Indian shooter in the fray, Devanshi Rana, also qualified for the final and finished fourth with 195.3.
Manu, Rana and Mahima Agrawal also brought India on top of the team podium with , while Xiao, Lu and Li Xue won silver for China. Thailand’s Hirunphoem, Luxciga Srinitivoravong and Warunyapha Kaewngoen took the team bronze.
An exciting final characterised the 10m air pistol junior event as Manu prevailed over Hirunphoem (16) at the very last shot, securing India’s second individual gold in the tournament.
After leading the match by as much as 2.2 points, Manu fired six consecutive shots outside the 10th ring, suddenly finding herself one point behind Hirunphoem with only two shots left to fire.
There, the 9.6-9.8 combo signed by the Indian was enough to overtake her rival, who instead sealed her fate with a disappointing 7.9.
Manu — who won individual and mixed team gold in air pistol at this month’s ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara — finished with the score of 235.9 points, while Hirunphoem, who previously wrote a new qualification world record with 576 points took silver with 234.9.
The podium was then completed by People’s Republic of China’s Lu Kaiman, 41st at last year’s ISSF Junior World Championship in Suhl, Germany and making her first Junior World Cup participation Sydney.
Placing just outside of the podium, Manu’s teammate Rana failed to put a medal on top of her first international competition. The 18-year-old debutant, took the fourth place with 195.3 points.
A second Chinese finalist 15-year-old Xiao Jiaruixuan, air pistol junior gold medallist at last year’s Asian Championship in Wako City, Japan, finished in fifth with 173.2 points.
She was followed by Singapore’s 15-year-old Shirlene Hew Yun Ting and Chinese Taipei’s 19-year-old Chien Hsin-Yi, who respectively finished in sixth with 153.3 points and in seventh position with 133.5.
At the bottom of the table, Amanda Mak Sao Keng (17) finished eighth in her first international competition ever, scoring 112.9 points.
(With inputs from agencies)