The Indian pair of Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu clinched the gold in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup being held at Gabala, Azerbaijan. They triumphed over the Russian team in the finals 7-6.
The Indian team was trailing 0-4 against the Russians after which they fought hard for a comeback. Their performance in the semifinals was also remarkable as they topped the list with 240.7 points. The Russians closely followed with 239.8. The French came third and Iran fourth in the semis. In the third place decider, the French team won over Iran with a similar 7-6 margin.
Although the mixed team competition is not included in the medals tally for the World Cup, it has been approved as an official event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This could be good news for the Indian pair. They have had a good run this year, earlier in February winning the same event in the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.
China currently the tops the medals tally at the World Cup with 7 medals of which 4 are gold. They are followed by Austria and Denmark with 1 gold medal each and 1 silver and bronze medal respectively. Both Jitu and Heena missed out in their individual 10m shooting events failing to qualify for the finals. Jitu finished 12th whereas Heena finished 9th in the qualifications for their respective finals.
The Gabala world cup is currently hosting 430 athletes from 45 different nations. It is the last opportunity for the shooters to qualify for the ISSF Word Cup final later this year in October in New Delhi.