Shooting: Elavenil Valarivan wins her maiden World Cup gold medal

Rio de Janeiro: While the nation is still celebrating the success of PV Sindhu, who won gold at the World Badminton Championships recently, another Indian lass has made the nation proud by winning gold in ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol Stage, held in Rio De  Janeiro, Wednesday.

20-year old Elavenil Valarivan, who was born in Cuddalore and currenly a resident of Ahmedabad, won her maiden gold medal in the women’s 10m Air Rifle event even as fancied teammates Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela finished out of medal bracket at the ISSF World Cup .

In her debut year at the senior level, Elavenil shot 251.7 in the finals to help India extend their newly found dominance in the event leaving behind Seonaid Mcintosh of Britain, who won silver with an effort of 250.6. By winning the gold, Elavenil also became only the third Indian shooter to win a World Cup gold in the women’s 10m Air Rifle category.

India has now won three out of the four World Cup gold medals in the women’s 10m Air this year. Chinese Taipei’s Ying-Shin Lin won bronze as well as one of the two Tokyo 2020 quota places on offer. The second quota was won by Iran.

Gujarat’s Elavenil had earlier pipped her senior Anjum in qualification, with an impressive 629.4 to the world No 2’s 629.1 as they took the fourth and fifth spots through to the eight-woman final.

World number one and finals world record holder Apurvi failed to qualify for the finals, finishing 11th with a score of 627.7. In fact, such has been India’s supremacy in the event that Mehuli Ghosh, shooting in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section, shot a 629.1, which could have earned her a final spot as well.

Anjum lead the finals field after the first five shots as Seonaid began as she finished and the eight finalists bunched closely at the top. The Briton then attempted to pull ahead after 10 shots as Anjum had a poor second series to go down to fifth by the 12th shot.

However, Elavenil who was shooting brilliantly went ahead of Seonaid, as the American Mary Tucker became first to be eliminated at eighth spot after the 12th shot. The Korean Kim, then went out in seventh after the 14th shot at which stage there were three athletes, including Elavenil and Seonaid, who were jointly in the lead with a score of 147.1. Anjum maintained her fourth place at that stage. Anjum finished fifth losing to Romania’s Laura-Georgeta Coman. The Indian shot a 10.1 to Coman’s 10.4 to go out in fifth.

Meanwhile Elavenil was dishing out a master-class with a series of high 10s, which saw her maintain a 1.4 in the lead with four shots of the 24-shot final to go. Seonaid and Elavenil battled till the end, but it was the Indian who prevailed for a milestone win.

Thursday has as many as three finals on the schedule beginning with the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions, followed by the women’s 25m Pistol and the men’s 10m Air Pistol being the concluding final of the day.

NT Bureau