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Gorkha Shooter Jitu Rai wins Gold in 50m Pistol Event in ISSF World Cup in bangkok


Bangkok : The 50m Pistol Men Final opened the day-2 of the 2016 ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. The match turned into a stage of success for India’s Jitu Rai, 28. The winner of the 2014 Asian Games, currently ranked 5th in the world in this event, shot consistently since the beginning of the round, and then peaked in the second half of the final, leaving few chances to his opponents. Gaining points series after series, Rai entered into the last two shots with a 4.5-point advantage on his closest follower, the 2008 air pistol Olympic Champion Pang Wei of the People’s Republic of China (29), and eventually sealed the victory with a sharp 10.0, finishing atop of the podium with a score of 191.3 points. Pang, who had never made it to the podium in 2015, took Silver with 186.5 points, while his teammate Wang Zhiwei, 27 - the Olympic Bronze medallist of London 2012 - claimed Bronze with 165.8 points.

The 2013 European Champion, Giuseppe Giordano of Italy, 41, dueled head to head against Wang throughout the whole match, but lost the chance to step onto the podium as he fired a 7.8 on his 16th final shot, and eventually took the 4th place with 147.1 points. The 2010 World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda, 40, followed him in 6th place with 128.9 points, being eliminated at the 14th shot as he nailed two disappointing shots (7.5 and an 8.4 points). Today’s victory, with such a large margin on those top-ranked finalists, places Jitu Rai atop of the favorites’ list in the run-up of Rio 2016. The Indian shooter knows it, and makes no secret about his aims. “The goal for the 2016 season is very clear: I want to win the Olympic Gold medal in Rio de Janeiro,” he said right after the final.

“Given the amount of training and efforts I put in preparation of this competition, I was really confident before today’s match,” he added, commenting on the result, and showing a great self confidence. Throughout the first part of the round, four athletes were eliminated. The 41-year old Vietnamese finalist Tran Quoc Cuong, competing in the second world cup final round of his career, dropped out of the final in 6th with 108.3 points, while Ukraine’s Yuriy Popruzhnyy, 25, debuting in a world cup final, resisted right to the 10th shot, when he fired himself out of the final by scoring a frustrating 4.1. With a total score of 86.2 points, he secured the 7th place, his best world cup placement ever. Coming back into a world cup medal match for the first time after 12 years, it was Australia’s 3-time Olympian Daniel Repacholi, 33, who placed in 8th with 72.5 points.

Bangkok’s World Cup stage will continue this afternoon with the 25m Pistol Women final, scheduled at 1:30 PM (UTC+9). Watch the match live on www.issf-sports.org 


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