Shooter Heena Sidhu qualifies for Rio Oly
Joint world record holder Heena Sidhu won gold in the women’s 10m Air Pistol event on the opening day of the Asian qualifiers at the Karni Singh Shooting Range here on Wednesday to book a ticket to the Rio Olympics.
Given the expectations and pressures of performing in front of her home crowd, Heena’s was a clinical performance and she topped her qualifying round as well with a creditable score of 387.
In the finals, she finished with 199.4 to beat Chinese Tapiei’s Tien Chia Chen (198.1) who took the silver. Yun Mi Gim of South Korea got the bronze. The second Olympic quota went to Iran’s Golnoush Sebghatollahi who finished fourth. But the fact that both Chinese Taipei and Korea had exhausted their quotas in the event worked to her advantage.
What made Heena’s performance even better was the fact that this was her third international gold in five months. The former world number one had won the same event at the 8th Asian Air Gun Championships here in September.
In the eight woman final, once Iran’s Elham Harijani and Singapore’s Xiu Hong Teh were eliminated, it became clear that one of the two quotas in the event would go to India. But Heena did not let that affect her and performed consistently to end up as the winner.
In the men’s 50m Rifle Prone final, South Korea’s 2012 London Olympics silver medallist Jonghyun Kim clinched the gold and a Rio berth with a score of 206.3. He had qualified in second position with a score of 625.1. The second quota in the event went to Attapon Vea Aree of Thailand who took home the silver with a score of 206.1 after qualifying in fourth position with a score of 623.4.
Swapnil Kusale was the best finisher among three Indians in the event, scoring 617.2 to finish 14th. Sushil Ghalay finished 17th while Surendra Singh Rathod was 24th.
Japan’s Yukie Nakayama, who already had a Rio quota, won the women’s Trap, beating China’s Qingnian Li in a scintillating shoot-off in the gold medal match up. Both women were tied with 12 points after the regulation 15 shots, with the Chinese girl eventually missing her 17th shot to hand Yukie the gold.