Anjali wins air rifle gold

NEW DELHI OCT. 10. Ace rifle shooter Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat added another feather to her cap, as she won the air rifle gold in the World Cup Finals in Milan, Italy on Friday.

The 33-year-old Anjali shot with her customary poise as she followed a 399 out of 400 with a 103.4 in the final, to beat the best in the business. Her total of 502.4 was too good to reach for the World Record holder Du Li, as the Chinese ended up with silver with a 501.1. Du Li had a 398 and 103.1, which did not compare favourably with her World Record efforts of 400 and 504.9.

The Japanese Hiromi Misaki took the bronze with a 500.0 as she shot the best in the final with a 104, but had fared below par in the preliminary phase with a 396.

It was the second gold in the season for the CISF Inspector from Mumbai, as Anjali had clinched the air rifle gold in the World Cup in Fort Benning, U.S., earlier in the season. She had not done that well in the other World Cups subsequently, but Anjali was then focusing on a few aspects in her technique rather than gunning for medals.

In the last World Cup Final in Munich, Anjali had won the silver behind Lioubov Galkina of Russia, who captured the gold in the 3-position event this time on Thursday. Anjali had gone on to clinch the `champion of champions' title last year, beating a combined field of men and women shooters, to be adjudged the best rifle shooter in the last edition. That event would be held on the last day in Milan.

Incidentally, Anjali had won silver medals in two other World Cups last year in the run-up to the World Cup Final, a competition for the top-10 shooters of the season. She had also bagged four gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and a team silver in the Asian Games. Despite a brilliant final, Anjali had missed an individual medal in the Asian Games by 0.1 point and the gold itself by 0.6 points, a remarkable effort as she was three points behind the leader after the preliminary phase in Busan.

In the current event, reigning world champion Katerina Kurkova of the Czech Republic and the Olympic champion Cho Hyun Kang of Korea could not get amongst the medals.