By Elton Gomes
India continued its medal run in the Youth Olympics after Manu Bhaker won India’s first ever gold medal in shooting at the games in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.
16-year-old Bhaker shot 236.5 to finish on top of the podium in the women’s 10m air pistol event. Bhaker certainly made up for her disappointing performance at this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia and the World Championship.
Russia’s Iana Enina clinched silver with 235.9, while Nino Khutsiberidze bagged the bronze medal. Bhaker began the eight-woman final with a score of 10.0 and followed it up with a 10.1 and 10.4. Bhaker was leading Stage 1 with a score of 99.3 after a sequence that included seven scores of 10 and above.
Two 9.8 scores in the beginning of the elimination stage were followed by a 10.1 and 9.9, and this helped Bhaker in maintaining her lead over Thailand’s Kanyakorn Hirunphoem.
Bhaker then extended her domination in the subsequent shots and looked to be on course to win gold. She slipped to second place but was able to gain her composure quickly and was back on top.
#KheloIndia star Manu Bhaker makes the nation proud by clinching India's first ever 🥇 in shooting at the Youth Olympics, scoring 236.5 to finish on top of the podium in the women's 1⃣0⃣m air pistol event! Congratulations! 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/ynHg7R8gu5
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) October 9, 2018
In the decider for the gold medal, Bhaker had a healthy lead of 1.5 points over Enina. The Russian came up with an impressive 10.7, which increased pressure on Bhaker. However, the Indian replied with a solid 10.1 to maintain a lead of 0.9.
“This is an important win for me. It will be a morale booster (after the Asian Games disappointment) as I look forward with an aim to bring home more laurels,” Bhaker told PTI after winning the gold. “I have always tried to give my best and sometimes there may not be success. But the endeavour is to do well, shoot well, shoot high scores. It is satisfying,” she said.
Bhaker overcomes slump
Bhaker’s win is not only important since it is a Youth Olympics gold, but it comes as she was enduring a slump of sorts. Bhaker failed to win any medals at the Asian Games and the Changwon World Championship, and her family was concerned that Bhaker is crumbling under the pressure of expectations. “She was unusually dull when she returned from the Asian Games. She had returned without medals even earlier, but I’d never seen her so worried,” Bhaker’s father said, the Indian Express reported. However, with a gold in the Youth Olympics, Bhaker is sure to have left her disappointing form behind.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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