Azerbaijan, June 12: Indian star shooters Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu on Monday won the gold medal at the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol series being which is being held in Gabala, Azerbaijan. Notably, this is the first medal in Indian contingent account in an ongoing event.
Lagging behind by 0-4, Jitu and Heena made a strong comeback in the second set by 7-6 and won the gold for the country and made whole India proud again. However, there were several drawbacks for Indian contingent in the ongoing tournament as Sanjeev Rajput could not qualify for final, whereas Gagan Narang also ended its journey after he earned the 25th position in the event.
Meanwhile, Jitu Rai finished 12th after he shot a total of 576 in the 10m air pistol event ahead of Prakash Nanjappa (575) and Omkar Singh (574). But Jitu did not fail to bag gold medal with his partner Henna Sidhu in the mixed doubles event.
In the tournament, Indian contingent consists of 23-members including 12 women and 11 men. A total of 430 athletes from 45 countries is competing for medals at the Gabala World Cup. Interestingly, this tournament is the last chance for rifle and pistol shooters to qualify for the ISSF World Cup Finals, which has the eight best shooters of the world in each Olympic discipline along with reigning Olympic and World Championship medalists and wild-cards squaring off with each other.
Earlier in the month of February, Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu also bagged the gold medal in the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup at the Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi. Jitu and Heena defeated Japan in the finals.