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India para shooters hit the mark at Croatia event, set 4 world records

Indian para shooters have done the country proud at the at the Osijek 2019 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Croatia with their rich haul of medals. With this performance, India's position in the Sydney 2019 World Shooting Para Sports Championships looks solid as its likely to make the minimum qualifying score with eight places.

Five gold medals, two silver, and four bronze. The cherry on top - four world records. It was certainly a good run for Indian para shooters at the Osijek 2019 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Croatia. With three of those records in junior events, the future of Indian para shooting looks promising.

Go For Gold in 2020

This is what the final tally looked like:

  • 50 Mtr Free Pistol Men - Gold for Singhraj, Manish Narwal and Akash.
  • Air Pistol Men Team - Gold for the above three shooters yet again.
  • Air Pistol Women Individual - Gold for Nisha Kanwar and a silver for Rubina Francis, who also set a Junior World Record.
  • Air Pistol Mixed Event - Gold for Manish Narwal and Nisha Kanwar. Bronze for Singhraj and Pooja Agarwal.
  • Air Pistol Men Individual - Gold for Rahul Jakhar, silver for Manish Narwal and a junior world record.
  • 50 Mtr Free Pistol Men Individual - Bronze for Singhraj.
  • Air Rifle Standing Men Individual - Bronze for Swaroop Mahavir Unhalkar.
  • Air Rifle Standing Women Individual - Silver for Avani Lekhara who also set a Junior World Record.

With this Nisha has won two golds at world cup competitions, raising hopes of more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Pretty amazing given that this was her first world event. "It feels very, very nice," she said speaking after the event to the official media organisers. "My first competition, and first medal, I can't believe it. I've only been shooting since 2018. I'm very lucky because my coaches and family have been extremely supportive."

Junior shooters Avani Lekhara, Manish Narwal and Rubina Francis are showing great promise too, making their presence felt in national and international events. Paralympian Deepa Malik attributed the performance to the continuous administrative support and guidance from the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

It has been a stunning performance by our para shooters and in a short span of three years a world class level for many new talents has been achieved. Personally I feel more proud as women para shooters are also doing so well. This speaks highly of the growth of Paralympics movement in India. Para Shooting has a great future and sure medal-winning capabilities at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, I am happy to see a sea-stride improvement of para shooting in the past three years" - Deepa Malik, Athlete Council Head, Paralympic Committee of India

Colonel J.P Nautiyal, Coordinator, Shooting Technical Committee PCI, says India's para shooters are performing amazingly well. "Their performances can be attributed to two factors - coaches and the students themselves", says Colonel Nautiyal, who is a former national-level shooter himself. "The students are giving scores that are on par with International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) shooters like Saurabh Chaudhary. Their performances are on par with non-disabled shooters".

India's chances in 2020 now look good. The win has boosted the shooter's morale. Speaking to the Paralympic organisers after the win, Rahul said he was happy to have broken the record.

"It is some feeling to have broken the record. It is very important for us because shooting is a high priority sport in India. During the gold medal shoot-out with Manish I wasn't thinking about the medal or scores, I was only thinking about my technique. There's no rivalry between us, he's like a brother to me", he added.

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