Shooting World Cup: After Jitu-Heena win in mixed event, Ankur Mittal bags silver
Indian shooter Ankur Mittal clinched the silver medal in Men's Double trap event in the ongoing ISSF World Cup after the duo of Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu claimed the top prize in 10m air pistol mixed event at the ISSF World Cup on Monday.
The 24-year-old Mittal finished second on the podium after he tallied 74, one behind gold medal winner James Willett of Australia. Great Britain's James Dedman was third on the standings with 56.
Asian champion Mittal was in running for a gold medal but three consecutive misses in the final stages ensured a second-place finish, leaving the Australia, who missed one bird after the Indian's hatrick of misses, to run away with the top prize.
"This was the first final under this rule, had no idea. Performance was good, my first medal here. It feels bad that the double trap event could be scrapped but at least it will be there till the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year, so I am focusing on it. The mixed trap event introduced doesn't seem to be working out that well. Let's see what they decide," Mittal said.
"Last round the target was to hit 30 to enter final, so the motivation was there. Missed the last three shots because there was pressure. I felt very happy with way I performed, especially after the 24 I hit in the first round, that was bad," he said.
Fellow team-mate, Sangram Dahiya also featured in the top six but could manage only 24 points in the final. As per the new rules, the 50-shots double trap event has been stretched to a staggering 80 shots where elimination starts after the 30th shot in the six-man final.
Mittal was strong throughout the final starting with a clean score of 30 in the first 30 shots. A double miss in the middle stages was the only blip before he missed two targets in the final 20-shot match-up with Willet to settle for Silver.
Earlier in the day, ace shooters Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu clinched the gold medal in 10m pistol mixed team event, which is being tested out for the first time in the World Cup with medals won not being counted in the standings.
In an event, where coordination plays a key role, Rai teamed up with Heena to finish ahead of Japan's Yukari Konishi and Tomoyuki Matsuda 5-3. Slovenia's Naphaswan Yangpaiboon and Kevin Venta were placed third.
They were trailing in the semifinal stage but staged a spirited fightback to enter the gold medal match and eventually won the 'golden badge'.
The Indian duo defeated Japan's Yukari Konishi and Tomoyuki Matsuda 5-3 in the final which is the test event.
At the end of competition day four, India is placed fourth in the medal tally with one Silver and one Bronze medal.
However, since the mixed event is being used on a trial basis in line with IOC's aim to achieve gender equality in its 2020 Tokyo Olympics program, medals are not being awarded even though the ISSF executive committee has ratified the recommendations.
The recommendations to include mixed gender event was given by the Abhinav Bindra-led ISSF Athletes Committee and the world governing body soon approved the proposal.