Rudrankksh becomes second Indian shooter to win 10m air rifle gold at Worlds, secures Paris Olympics quota

CAIRO, Oct 14:  Young Rudrankksh Patil on Friday won gold in men’s 10m air rifle event in the ISSF World Championship here, becoming only the second Indian to achieve the feat after the legendary Abhinav Bindra.

Patil also secured a 2024 Paris Olympics quota for the country in the process. This was India’s second Olympic quota.

The 18-year-old Patil beat Italy’s Danilo Dennis Sollazzo 17-13 in the gold medal match after a brilliant come-from-behind effort.

Four quota spots are available in Olympic events at the World Championship this year.

India had earned their first quota at the Shotgun World Championship in Croatia recently, courtesy Bhowneesh Mendiratta in the men’s trap event.

Overall, Patil is the sixth Indian shooter to win gold in World Championships.

Appearing in his maiden World Championship, Patil was trailing 4-10 in the new format in the gold medal match to decide the top two.

The Italian shooter maintained the lead for the majority of the final but the Indian produced a stunning comeback to emerge winner.

Patil topped the qualification and was assured of the quota after he entered the gold medal match in second place in the ranking round.

Beijing 2008 Olympics champion Bindra had won his World Championship gold in his pet 10m air rifle event in 2006 in Zagreb, Croatia.

Silver medallist at the Junior World Championships in Lima last year and gold medallist at the Junior World Cup in Suhl earlier this year, this was Patil’s first top of the podium finish at the senior level.

He had broken through to the senior squad in the beginning of the year and had registered seventh and 11th place finishes in the Baku and Cairo World Cups.

With the top eight making it to the next ranking round, Patil sizzled with a 633.9 to top a high-quality field of 114 shooters.

Among those he left behind on the day were legends like Yang Haoran (double Olympic gold winner and double world champion) of China, reigning Olympic champion William Shanner of the USA, Chinese teenager and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Lihao Sheng and Olympic medallists Serhiy Kulhish of Ukraine and Alexis Raynaud of France.

Teammate Arjun Babuta, who shot 625.3, finished in 22nd place.

In the 25-shot ranking round broken down into five series of five shots each, Patil had a steady start, moving up to fourth place after 10 shots with a score of 104.2.

Compatriot Kiran Jadhav, who had also made it to the top eight with a sixth-place finish overall in qualification, bowed out at this stage in eighth place along with Raynaud, who finished seventh.

He shot into the lead after the third series of shots logging 157 to be 0.1 ahead of Italian Sollazzo and 0.7 ahead of Yang Haoran as the fifth and sixth place shooters bowed out, assuring India of a Paris quota place.

Patil continued to shine and a 10.8 in his 19th and a 10.3 in the 10th meant that he kept the lead after the fourth series as well. At that point, his lead was 0.3 over the Italian and a full point ahead of Lihao Sheng, who had caught up on countryman Haoran.

The Italian, however, had a strong final series and wrested the lead from the Indian at the end of it, but Patil still made it to the gold medal round, finishing 0.1 ahead of Lihao, who settled for bronze.

Patil finished with 261.9 to Sollazzo’s 262.7.


The gold medal match


The gold medal contest turned out to be a dogfight. Patil and Danilo split points thrice in the shoot-out including in the first two rounds.

At one point, the Italian was 8-4 ahead, then 10-6 and then 13-9, but Patil never let him go out of sight. After winning a close round to narrow the gap to 11-13, Patil shot a 10.8 in the next to Danilo’s 10.7 and the scores were level at 13-13.

Patil fired 10.7 and 10.5 in the next two attempts to Danilo’s 10.4 and 10.2, ensuring his victory.


Other results


India’s junior shooters continued to impress as Udhayveer Sidhu and Esha Singh finished on top of the pile after the first qualification round of their 25m pistol men and women junior events. Udhayveer shot 290 in the first precision round while Esha shot 294.

In the junior men’s 25m pistol, Unish Holinder was lying 13th with 282 while Sameer logged 280 to lie 19th. Also in the junior women’s competition, Naamya Kapoor shot 283 to be in 18th spot, Vibhuti Bhatia 280 to be 21st, Khushi Kapoor 279 to be 24th and Divanshi shot 278 to lie in 25th position.

In the 50m rifle prone mixed team junior competition, the pair of Nishchal and Surya Pratap Singh went down 6-16 in the bronze medal match to USA’s Katie Zaun and Rylan Kissell.

In the men’s junior 50m rifle 3 positions, India’s Sartaj Tiwana finished seventh with a score of 580 to qualify for the ranking round. Pankaj Mukheja and Surya Pratap Singh were 13th and 28th with scores of 577 and 570 respectively.  (PTI)