Shotgun shooting runs in her family, and trap exponent Rajeshwari Kumari showed why she is among the best in the country when she earned a seventh 2024 Paris Olympic quota place by finishing fifth in the ISSF World Championship in Baku on Thursday. The 31-year-old, daughter of legendary shotgun shooter and one of the top sports administrators the country has produced, Randhir Singh, made it to the finals in an extremely tough field but bad luck forced her to miss out on a medal. Rajeshwari also became the second trap shooter after Shagun Chowdhary to ever earn an Olympic quota in women’s trap.
In a heartbreak for the shooter, she could score only 19 out of 30 shots in the final.
Despite the below-par score in the finals, Rajeshwari was elated at having clinched the Olympic quota.
“I am feeling great. It’s unbelievable. It’s finally done. It’s done for the country. I mean I wish I could win a medal but this is great. Paris…,” said Rajeshwari after the final.
The daughter of Randhir — the first Indian marksman to win a gold medal in the Asian Games (1978, Bangkok) — was outstanding in all five rounds of qualification — two on Wednesday and three on Thursday — and went in to the finals placed third with a cumulative score of 120 out of a maximum 125.
The 120 she shot in the qualification round also bettered her national record score of 118.
Rajeshwari had three superb series of 24, 25, 24 before she hit a rough patch and scored 22. But she managed to notch a perfect 25 in the fifth and last qualification round to make the six-shooter finals.
“It’s certainly a proud day for me and the family. She (Rajeshwari) first qualified for the Asian Games of which we were very proud and now she has won an Olympic quota. She carries on a family legacy,” said Randhir, who is presently the interim president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
The other two Indians in the fray, Manisha Keer (115) and Preeti Rajak (109), were 23rd and 58th respectively in the qualification.
China’s Chun Yi Lin won the gold medal with a score of 40 out of 50 shots, while Italy’s Jessica Rossi settled for silver with a score of 39. Germany’s Kathrin Murche 28/40 took the bronze.
The Indian women’s trap team comprising Rajeshwari, Manisha and Preeti finished fifth with an aggregate of 344.
The gold went to Italy with a score of 354, while the silver and bronze were bagged by Australia (353) and China (349) respectively.
In men’s trap, Prithviraj Tondaiman finished 23rd with a score of 121, while Olympian Kynan Chenai was 51st with 119 and Zoravar Sandhu 70th with 117. The trio was 11th in the team competition.
India have now won four Paris Olympic quota places at the Worlds here, with Mehuli Ghosh in the women’s 10m air rifle, Akhil Sheoran in the men’s 50m Rifle 3-Positions and young Sift Kaur Samra in women’s 50m rifle three-positions event being the other three.
Overall, India have so far won seven Paris quota places. Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men’s trap), Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil (men’s 10m air rifle) and Swapnil Kusale (men’s 50m rifle 3 positions) are the other three Indians to have secured the 2024 Olympic quota places at last year’s ISSF World Championship.
Bronze in non-Olympic event
India also won a bronze medal in team competition of men’s 25m centre-fire pistol with Rajendra Bagul, Akshay Jain and Gaurav Chaudhary shooting a combined 1,718 to finish behind Germany (1743) and Korea (1731).
India is placed third on the medal tally with five gold and five bronze medals behind powerhouses China and USA.
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