Rahi Sarnobat won the gold medal in the 25m Air Pistol event at the 2018 Asian Games after an edge-of-the-seat double shoot-off with her Thai challenger on Wednesday.
She has become the first Indian woman shooter to win an individual gold medal at the Asian Games with this performance in Palembang, Indonesia. The feat is particularly remarkable since she made a comeback after a major elbow injury two years ago.
Commonwealth Games gold medalist and medal hope Manu Bhaker, however, finished sixth. It was a disappointing end to a campaign that had seen the 16-year-old medal hope set a new Asian Games record of 593 in the qualifying round.
Rahi Sarnobat Holds Her Nerve
It was a crucial period for 27-year-old Sarnobat after Korea’s Kim Minjung finished third to win the bronze medal. The Indian was trailing the Thai shooter 32-34 and every shot was going to be important from here on.
Yangpaiboon missed all her five shots in this round; Rani Sarnobat scored two out of five. The two were tied at 34 points each and the competition went into a shoot-off.
The tense drama was, however, showing no signs of an early end. The first round of shoot-off finished with both level at four shots each; this meant that another round had to follow.
Sarnobat and Yangpaiboon were level at 2 shots at the target each before the Thai missed, taking the Indian into the lead.
Rahi Sarnobat missed her next two shots, but so did the Thai, and she won this shoot-off 3-2 to clinch a hard-fought gold medal.
This was India’s second shooting gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. Young Saurabh Chaudhary, all of 16 years old, had won the gold in the men’s 10m Air Pistol event on Tuesday. India’s Abhishek Verma won the bronze medal.
Chaudhary had become the first Indian to win an Asian Games gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event.