Asian Games: Indian men clinch gold in 10m air pistol team event

The team of Sarabjot Singh, Arjun Singh Cheema and Shiva Narwal narrowly beat the Chinese team to finish on top.
It was India's fourth gold medal in shooting at Hangzhou. Photo: X@Media_SAI

Hangzhou: The men's 10m air pistol team continued India's success story at the Asian Games here, winning gold but two of the marksmen, who made it to the individual finals on Thursday, missed a medal.

The team of Sarabjot Singh, Arjun Singh Cheema and Shiva Narwal narrowly beat the Chinese team to take the top podium and earn India its fourth gold medal from the shooting ranges.

Indian shooters have so far won four gold, four silver and five bronze medals.

The Indian trio's aggregate score of 1,734 was just one better than the Chinese team, which settled for the silver medal, while Vietnam, with a score of 1,730, bagged the bronze.

Sarabjot and Arjun also made it to the eight-shooter individual finals but finished fourth and eighth, respectively. Vietnam's Pham Quang Huy won gold with a score of 240.5, while South Korea's Lee Wonho (239.4) and Uzbekistan's Vladimir Svechnikov (219.9) took the silver and bronze, respectively.

Sarabjot, 21, finished fourth, scoring 199, while Arjun ended up eighth and last, exiting on the second elimination shot.

It was another fruitful day for Indian shooters, with Sarabjot, who will be celebrating his 22nd birthday on Saturday, giving himself an early birthday gift as he led the air pistol trio to team gold, scoring 580 in the qualification round, while Cheema shot 578 and Narwal amassed 576 to aggregate 1734.

In the qualification round, whose aggregate score decides the team medallists, Sarabjot shot cards of 95, 95, 97, 98, 97 and 98 to aggregate 580 and entered the finals at fifth place.

Teammate Arjun Cheema shot series of 97, 96, 97, 97, 96 and 95 for his 578 to also make the eight-shooter finals, placed eighth.

Shiva Narwal, the younger brother of 2020 Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist in mixed 50m pistol Manish, came out of his elder sibling's shadow as the third member of the gold-winning team here, but he could not make it to the individual finals, finishing 14th.

Narwal shot series of 92, 96, 97, 99, 97 and 95 for his 576.

This was the third team gold at the shooting ranges here after the 10m air rifle top-podium finish and women's 25-metre pistol gold.

Sarabjot had won his first individual senior gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in Bhopal earlier this year, and was gunning for more success today in the individual category after being placed fifth among the eight finalists at the end of the qualification round.

But a string of below-par scores in the finals, undid his efforts in the qualification round. He managed just 9.8 and 9.4 on the third and fourth shots in the finals and another rank bad shot of 8.9 on the seventh shot pegged him further back from where he could not recover.

Sarabjot, whose success story started in 2021 when he won the junior air pistol team and mixed team gold at the ISSF World Championships at Lima, Peru in 2021, has been performing consistently ever since, bagging the mixed team gold at the recently-concluded World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He would now be aiming to seal a 2024 Paris Olympics quota place at the Asian Championships in Changwon (South Korea) later this year.

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