Indian shooters opened their account at the Asian Games by bagging the women’s team silver medal in the 10m air rifle event here on Sunday.
Experienced Mehuli Ghosh, Ramita Jindal and Ashi Chouksey’s combined score of 1,886.0 earned them the second spot behind hosts China, who smashed the Asian record with an amazing 1,896.6 points.
India could be in line for a women’s 10m air rifle individual medal as well, as Mehuli and Ramita also reached the eight-shooter final, which will be held later in the day.
In the qualification round, Ramita, just 19 years of age, finished second scoring 631.9 while Mehuli was fourth with a score of 630.8 points.
All three Chinese shooters — Han Jiayu, Huang Yuting and Wang Zhilin — entered the final, while South Korea’s Lee Eunseo, Mongolia’s Ganhuyag Nandinzaya and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chi were the other three shooters to make the eight-team final.
The team medals in shooting are decided on the combined scores of a country’s shooters in the qualification round.
All three Indians were up to the task in the qualification round with Ramita shooting consistently with scores of 104.3, 106.7, 105.2, 104.3, 105.4 and 106.0 in the six series to garner 631.9, which placed her second behind Han Jiyan of China, who smashed the qualification Asian Games record and Asian record with a superb 634.1.
Mehuli, who also made it to the individual final with a score of 630.8 in qualification, too had things going for her with scores of 104.6, 105.7, 104.6, 105.1, 104.9 and 105.9. She finished fifth to make the final round.
However, the third Indian shooter Ashi failed to make it to the final, finishing 28th with a qualification round score of 623.3.
However, the aggregate score of 1,886.0 was enough to get them the team silver.
Mehuli would be the shooter to watch out for in the individual final with the 22-year-old on a comeback trail.
An Asian Games individual medal will be the icing on the cake for West Bengal’s Mehuli, who already has the Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games silver medals in her kitty, besides four ISSF World Cup medals across individual, women’s and mixed team events.
Last month, the shooter, who trained at Olympian Joydeep Karmakar’s academy in Kolkata from 2015 till 2021, won a bronze medal ar the ISSF World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
She also secured a 2024 Paris Olympic quota place by virtue of her achievement.