Star Indian shooter Jitu Rai created a new record of 235.1 in the finale of 10m air pistol to win a gold for India. Australian shooter Kerry Bell took silver with 233.5.
Not only Jitu, but Om Mitharwal, Mehuli Ghosh and Apurvi Chandela too gave a masterful performance and boosted India’s medal tally at the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) under way at Gold Coast in Australia.
Rai stamped his class on the men’s 10m air pistol final to post his victory at the Belmont Shooting Centre.
It was Jitu’s second Commonwealth Games gold. He had won the 50m title at the 2014 Games held in Glasgow, Scotland.
Om Mitharwal won his maiden bronze medal for India with 214.3. This is the first time Om is part of the CWG squad.
Throughout the day, Om’s performance was brilliant. He exited after 22nd shot of the 24-shot final.
Earlier, Om enjoyed a promising start to his campaign and emerged as the best shooter in the qualification stage.
He equalled the Commonwealth Games (CWG) qualification record on his way to the final.
Om shot 584 in the qualifying round to equal the record set by fellow Indian Samaresh Jung at the 2006 CWG in Melbourne.
Jitu qualified for the final by bagging the fourth position in the qualification stage with a score of 570.
Defending champion Daniel Repacholi of Australia and 2010 Delhi Games silver medallist Bin Gai of Singapore also qualified for the final with scores of 566 and 570, respectively.
The women shooters also did India proud as Mehuli Ghosh and Apurvi Chandela bagged silver and bronze respectively in the women’s 10m Air Rifle event.
Mehuli lost to eventual champions Martina Lindsay Veloso of Singapore in the shoot-off after both were tied at a CWG record score of 247.2 in the final.
In the shoot-off, Mehuli scored 9.9 while Martina shot 10.3. Apurvi, the defending champion. got the bronze with 225.3.
Mehuli was trailing Veloso till the last shot in the final. But she ensured some late drama by scoring 10.9 with her last shot to take the issue into the shoot-off.
After the five-shot series of the 24-shot final, Mehuli led the field 0.2 ahead of Martina while Apurvi was lying fifth.
However, it was Martina who kept getting better as the final progressed, while Apurvi and Mehuli seemed to be fighting for silver and bronze at this stage.
With four shots to go, Apurvi had caught up with Martina to lead jointly while Mehuli was trailing by a full point.
With a medal assured, Mehuli made her move and reeled of a series of 10.3, 10.7, 10.3 nd a mind-boggling 10.9 in her
Apurvi settled for bronze with a below par 9.9 and 9.4 on her final two shots.
Mehuli had almost packed up her equipment and started celebrating a gold after her effort in the shoot-off.
The experienced Martina however, did not budge from her position and pulled off a 10.3 to claim the title.
Earlier, Apurvi set a new CWG record of 423.2 to clinch the top spot in the qualifying stage.
She beat her own previous CWG record of 415.6 which was set at the 2014 edition in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ghosh registered 413.7 to finish fifth in the qualification stage.
Meanwhile, India’s Smit Singh flunked in the final of the men’s skeet competition, finishing at a disappointing sixth position.
Smit paid the price for a sluggish start and was the first to be eliminated from the six-man final after managing a lowly 15 out of 20.
Georgios Achilleos of Cyprus clinched the gold medal, shooting a Commonwealth Games record total of 57 while the silver went to Ben Llewellin of Wales, with a total of 56.
Northern Ireland’s Gareth Mcauley took the bronze with a total score of 45.
Earlier, Smit managed to qualify for the final at the sixth spot, shooting a total of 119 out of 125 after the second day of qualifications.
On Sunday, Smit shot 46 after the first two rounds, finding himself at the No.11 spot.
The Punjab shooter, however, lifted his game on Monday to shoot 25, 24 and 24 in the next three rounds and take his total to 119.
Sheikh Sheeraz, the other Indian in the fray, finished overall 10th after firing a total of 117 in the qualifiers.
-With IANS inputs.