Shooting World Cup: Arjun Babuta strikes gold in 10m air rifle final

CHANGWON, Jul 11:  Young Indian shooter Arjun Babuta stunned Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Lucas Kozeniesky to win the men’s 10m air rifle event and open the country’s account in the ongoing ISSF World Cup here on Monday.

In the gold medal clash, Arjun humbled USA’s Kozeniesky 17-9 in a rather one-sided contest.

This is Arjun’s maiden gold for the senior side. He had bagged the yellow metal at the 2016 Junior World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan.

The 23-year-old from Punjab, who has been representing India since 2016, had  earlier topped the ranking round with a scintillating 261.1 points to qualify for the gold medal clash.

Kozeniesky shot 260.4 to join him even as qualification leader Sergey Richter of Israel settled for bronze with a score of 259.9.

The other Indian in the fray, Parth Makhija, who also qualified for the ranking event in fifth place following an impressive show on Sunday, finished fourth with a score of 258.1.

There was no stopping Arjun in the final as he raced to a 10-4 lead after the first seven single-shot series.

The winner of each series gets two points while the points are spilt in case of a tie and the first to 16 wins the match.

The American did not give up till the end but Arjun pulled out those big high 10s when it mattered most and finished clinically for a convincing score-line to help India open their account with the brightest medal possible.

This was also foreign rifle coach Thomas Farnik’s maiden medal in his very first international assignment. The Austrian had been appointed to the job just ahead of the Changwon World Cup.  (PTI)