China won both the gold medals on competition day two of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol Bhopal, even as India picked up a silver and bronze each at the M.P. Shooting Academy Range here in the outskirts of the city. Reigning men's 10m Air Rifle world champion Rudrankksh Patil and R. Narmada Nithin won bronze in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team competition while in the day's second event, Varun Tomar and Rhythm Sangwan won silver to bolster India's medal haul to one gold, one silver and two bronze medals. China on the other hand lead the standings with three gold and two bronze medals, with Azerbaijan, Germany and Hungary winning a silver medal each thus far.
All finals are being streamed LIVE on the ISSF and NRAI YouTube channels.
In the day's first medal event, the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team, the Indian duo of Rudrankksh and Narmada shot a combined 632 in qualification to finish third and thereby qualify for the bronze medal match against China's Zhang Qiongyue and Yu Haonan, who finished fourth in the 19-strong field with the same combined score. In the bronze medal match, however, both Rudrankksh and Narmada were in their element, presenting a solid grouping to beat the Chinese pair 16-8 in what was a much closer match than the scoreline suggests.
Both the pairs did not shoot a single shot below the 10-mark in what was Shooting of the highest order. The high point came in the sixth series when both Rudrankksh and Narmada shot perfect 10.9s.
Speaking after the match Narmada said, "There was pressure obviously, but then we had a really good match- the competition was so good and we quite enjoyed it." Rudrankksh said there was no lack of motivation even if they did not win gold. "We were just asked to focus on our process and if we would have got Gold we would have been motivated but the bronze motivates us, even more, to do better next time," he said.
Both India and China had entered two teams in the Mixed Team Air Rifle. While the second Chinese team of Huang Yuting and Sheng Lihao won gold defeating Hungarians Istvan Peni and Denes Eszter 16-2 in a one-sided final, the second Indian duo of Hriday Hazarika and Tilottoma Sen shot 628.1 in qualification to finish ninth.
In the second and final medal event of the day, India's Varun Tomar and Rhythm Sangwan went down 11-17 to China's Qian Wei and Liu Jinyao, in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team gold medal encounter. It was Varun Tomar's second medal of the tournament after his bronze-winning effort in the individual Air Pistol on day one.
In the initial stages of the final, it looked as if the Chinese pair would run away with it, but the Indians made a strong comeback, going from 15-7 to 15-11 before the Chinese clinched the 15th series to seal gold. Earlier in qualification, Qian and Liu had topped the nine-team field with a score of 586, while Varun and Rhythm came second with 581.
Rhythm shared her thoughts after the match saying, "We all try our best and keep our best foot forward and silver is a medal as well. Of course, Gold would have been great but we are both happy that we got a silver medal and we will try better next time." Varun too was philosophical about missing out on Gold saying, "We try our best and try to make ourselves better and we believe whatever happens it is for the best."
Divya TS and Sarabjot Singh, the second Indian team in fray, missed the bronze medal match by a point, finishing fifth with a score of 574.
Competition day three Friday again has two finals on schedule. The 10m Air Rifle Men final begins at 11.15 am, while the 10m Air Rifle Women final is slated for 1.30 pm. Qualifications begin at 9.00 am.