New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Despite winning an Olympic quota place for India, Chinki Yadav wasn’t sure she would make it to the Olympic Games this year in the women’s 25m sports pistol event. There was speculation that Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat and Manu Bhaker would travel to Tokyo as only two shooters from a country are allowed in one category.
But Chinki produced a stellar performance at the ongoing ISSF World Cup on Wednesday, pipping both Rahi and Manu, to win gold and stake serious claim for a place in the Olympic squad.
In a battle of wits during the eight-shooter final at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges, the 23-year-old shooter from Bhopal held her nerve to prevail over Rahi and score a 4-3 win in the shoot-off. Both Chinki and Rahi — who is from Kolhapur in Maharashtra, were tied on scores of 32.
Haryana’s teenage shooter Manu shot 28 to win bronze.
Both Chinki and Rahi were neck-and-neck in the preliminary round. Rahi topped the table with 581 out of 600 while Chinki shot 580.
All the eight shooters progressing from the preliminary round are supposed to start afresh in the final.
In the post-match interaction, Chinki said there was some pressure but she was prepared for the challenge.
“I wasn’t concerned about my rivals but more focussed on my own capabilities that eventually got me gold medal in the shoot-off,” she said.
Both Chinki and Rahi had won the Tokyo Olympic quota in the 2019 qualification period. But there was speculation that Rahi and Manu will compete in the event at the Olympics while Chinki would be left out of the team if she doesn’t perform.
Wednesday’s win should impress the selection committee of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) when they meet after the World Cup to pick up the final squad for the Olympics.
“My job was to give my best. I’ve done that in the World Cup. Now it is up to the selection panel to decide who they want to select. It is not my field. I gave my best and should reap the benefit of winning the gold medal,” she added.
Chinki said she wasn’t alone in feeling the pressure. “I did nothing special to prepare for the highly-competitive final. I just followed the sequence of pistol shooting for each shot. It helped me shoot a steady score in the qualification as well as in the final,” said Chinki.