Munich, May 28:
India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra on Thursday won his country its fourth Rio Olympics quota slot, with a sixth place finish in the final of the 10m Air Rifle event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup (Rifle/Pistol) being held here.
Bindra qualified for the finals with a score of 627.5 in the qualification round held earlier in the day, according to a release.
At one point in the final, Bindra was leading the eight-man field before settling for sixth place in his pet event. The gold medal went to China’s Zhu Qinan, who finished the final with an eventual score of 206, ahead of Vladimir Maslennikov of Russia in second place, while Oleh Tsarkov of Ukraine won the bronze medal.
The men’s 10m Air Rifle had three quota places up for grabs. The two Chinese shooters in the final Zhu Qinan and Yang Haoran had already secured their quota places and so where ineligible for a quota place here.
So was Vitali Bubnovich of Belarus. Russian Vladimir Maslennikov was also not eligible for a quota as Russia had already exhausted their two quota places for this event.
So when reigning Olympic champion Alin George Moldoveanu of Romania was the first to be eliminated in the final, Bindra secured his quota along with Oleh Tsarkov of Ukraine and Stevan Pletikosic of Russia, who finished third and seventh respectively.
Understandably delighted at the developments, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh said: “I never had any doubts about Abhinav securing a quota place for us sooner or later. He is not an Olympic champion for nothing.”
“He is very clear about his goals and his preparations leading up to big events, is something every professional sportsman in this country should emulate. We have our fingers crossed for him for the Olympics,” he said.
This is India’s fourth quota place in shooting in the run up to the Rio 2016 summer Olympic Games, after Jitu Rai, Gagan Narang and Apurvi Chandela had accomplished the feat in earlier World Cups. (IANS)