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ISSF World Cup 2022 Cairo: Saurabh Chaudhary wins gold medal, Esha Singh bag silver

Saurabh Chaudhary, 19, has now won nine gold medals at the shooting World Cup. Esha Singh, meanwhile, lost to world champion Anna Korakaki of Greece.

Youth Olympic champion Saurabh Chaudhary and Esha Singh won a gold and a silver, respectively, to open India’s medal tally at the ISSF World Cup in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday.

Saurabh Chaudhary defeated Micheal Schwald of Germany 16-6 in the gold medal match of the men’s 10m air pistol shooting event while Esha Singh lost 4-16 to world champion and current world No. 1 Anna Korakaki of Greece in the women’s 10m air pistol event.

India now top the medal tally with one gold and one silver in their kitty.

Saurabh Chaudhary won eight of the 11 single shots in the final to clinch India’s first medal at the ongoing World Cup.

As per the new format, the winner of a single-shot in the final is awarded two points and the first to race to 16 points wins the contest.

This is also Saurabh Chaudhary’s third individual ISSF World Cup gold. Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Artem Chernousov, who topped the qualifying round, clinched bronze in the medal match of the 10m air pistol event.

As per the new format, the top eight shooters in the qualifying rounds are split into two groups of four shooters.

The top two from each group then progress to the medal match contested by four shooters. The top two from the four-member field then proceed to the gold medal match while the third-placed shooter is awarded the bronze medal.

Earlier in the qualifying round, 19-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary finished third. He then topped the semi-final and again aced the medal match to qualify for the gold medal match.

Among the other Indians who were competing at the 10m air pistol event were Gaurav Rana, Pradhyumn Singh and Kedarling Balakrishna Uchaganve.

Gaurav Rana finished 31st while Pradhyumn Singh and Kedarling Balakrishna Uchaganve stood a distant 66th and 67th, respectively, among the 92 participants.

Esha Singh, meanwhile, bagged her first medal for India in the senior circuit.

Shooting in an 80-strong top field consisting of the top two at Tokyo 2020 besides Korakaki, Esha Singh finished sixth in the 60-shot qualifying round to make it to the second semi-finals.

In the semis, Esha Singh trumped Korakaki and Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Vitalina Batsarashkina to top the round and sail through to the medal round with Korakaki.

In the medal round, the duo met Olympic champion Antoaneta Kostadinova of Bulgaria and Sandra Reitz of Germany, who had made it from the first semi-finals. Korakaki topped the field with Esha in tow. Antoaneta Kostadinova had to settle for bronze.

Esha Singh kept up with the world champion for the first five shots of the final with the score reading 4-6, but Korakaki stamped her class in the end, racing through the next five with consistent high inner 10s, reaching the required 16 points to close out the match.

India drew blank on Monday in the men’s and women’s 10m air rifle events, in the season’s first ISSF World Cup for rifle and pistol shooters.

Over 500 athletes from 60 nations are in the fray at the Cairo World Cup. The nine-day championship event also has 24 Indians competing across individual and team medal events.

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