Sarabjot Singh gave a raucous home crowd the dream start they were all hoping for, demolishing Ruslan Lunev of Azerbaijan 16-0 in the gold medal match of the men's 10m Air Pistol. Sarabjot's brilliant performance gave India their first gold of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol Bhopal, being held here at the M.P. Shooting Academy range. Varun Tomar also won bronze in the event. China's Li Xue won the women's 10m Air Pistol while her countrywoman Qian Wei won bronze, ensuring that both China and hosts India ended competition day one with an identical medal tally.
All finals are being streamed LIVE on the ISSF and NRAI YouTube channels.
Sarabjot however was the toast of the day, dishing out a champagne performance in the very first ISSF World Cup final, held at the newly inaugurated Finals Hall. It was a pillar-to-post finish for the Ambala lad, as he first topped the 60-shot qualification round among the 24 medal contenders with a score of 585. In the 25-shot top eight ranking round, he topped again with a score of 253.2 before going on to register probably the first-ever blank-out of an opponent in an ISSF World Cup stage gold medal match. To put the icing on the cake, he shot a perfect 10.9 for his final shot to win his first-ever ISSF World Cup medal in some style.
While Sarabjot was among the top three throughout the course of the ranking round, compatriot Varun Tomar had a blow-hot blow-cold final and even as at one stage it looked like it would be an all-India gold medal match, he finished with 250.3 to settle for bronze.
Sumit Raman, the third Indian in the field, shot 577 to finish 10th among medal contenders.
At the beginning of the final round of the women's 10m Air Pistol, China risked losing out on medals on the day after two of their finalists in the men's event, including reigning world champion Liu Jinyao finished fifth and sixth respectively. One of them, Zhang Jie, even missed taking his final shot in what was a bizarre moment in the final.
However, their women counterparts made up for it when Li Xue defeated two-time world championship medallist Doreen Veenekamp of Germany 17-5 in the gold medal match. Even here, their reigning world champion Lu Kaiman finished outside the medals but Qian Wei ensured they picked up two of the three medals on offer by finishing the ranking round with a score of 250.2.
Two other Indians in fray, Rhythm Sangwan and Manu Bhaker shot scores of 572 and 568 in qualification to finish 10th and 12th among medal contenders respectively.
Thursday will see the Air Pistol shooters come back for their Mixed Team event, both the men's and the women's being scheduled on competition day two. While the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team final begins at 12 noon, the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team final is scheduled for 10.30 am in the morning.