2010 World Champ Matsuda of Japan beat reigning Olympic Champ Hoang of Vietnam at today’s 10m Air Pistol Men final. India’s Jitu Rai came back from 7th to 3rd place to win Bronze, supported by the home crowd.
Reigning Olympic Champion Hoang Xuan Vinh of Vietnam, 42, and The 2010 World Champion Matsuda Tomoyuki of Japan, 41, duelled atop of the scoreboard of the men’s 10m Air Pistol Final, at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, today.
The two experienced athletes shot head and head right to the 18th final shot, when Matsuda gained some advantage on Hoang, defending his lead until the last shot.
With a score of 240.1 points, the Japanese shooter pocked the brightest medal and set the new air pistol world record. He had won his last ISSF world cup gold in this event six years ago, in Sydney.
Olympic Champion Hoang followed him in second with 236.6 points.
But spectators’ spotlight was on the home hero, Jitu Rai, a 29-year old world-cup multi-medallist who turned out to be protagonist of the day.
The Indian athlete had a rough start. After shot 12 he ranked 7th, and survived the first elimination with a narrow 0.2-point margin. That was the turning point of his match. Supported by an enthusiastic and loud home crowd, Rai zeroed in.
Through a series of excellent 10s, he climbed up the scoreboard shot after shot, overtaking Vietnam’s Tran Quoc Cuong (6th with 155.8 points) and Yang Wei of the People’s Republic of China (5th with 176.2).
After shot 18, Rai put the pedal to the medal, firing two consecutive 10.6s that lifted him up in third place, and finally sealed an odd-defying Bronze medal with a total tally of 216.7 points for the joy of the Indian supporters.
On his way to the podium, Rai left behind Xu Zhanyi of the People’s Republic of China, who closed his first appearance in an ISSF World Cup in 4th place with 197.9 points.
Scoring a disappointing 8.5 on his 14th shot, Horimizu Kojiro of Japan, 35, dropped down in the placements, landing in 7th place with 135.6 points. The third Chinese finalist, Pu Qifeng, 31, was the first to be eliminated after shot 12, placing in 8th with 117.1 points.
Day-5 of the ISSF Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun World Cup continues this afternoon with the men’s 50m Rifle Prone men, starting at 13.30 (UTC+5.30). Watch the match live on www.issf-sports.org and on the ISSF Facebook page.