Manu rediscovers form, clinches 25m sports pistol bronze

Focused: Manu rallied remarkably well after a mediocre start.

Focused: Manu rallied remarkably well after a mediocre start.
| Photo Credit: A.M. FARUQUI

Two years is quite a long time. For Manu Bhaker, the duration would have seemed longer.

When the 21-year-old shooter waved at the crowd after the 25m sports pistol event during the ongoing ISSF World Cup, relief was writ large on her face.

Finally, she had her hands on a World Cup medal again. The last one, a silver, had come in Osijek on June 26, 2021. This time, the colour is bronze, but she couldn’t care less.

Manu had been firing blanks for a while now, most recently during the 10m air pistol qualification round at the same competition, when she shot 568-19x to finish 16th. In the third series, she shot four 8s and three 9s to manage a mere 89.

Saturday’s story ran a different course. Manu, having finished third in qualification with 584 (290 in precision stage and 294 in rapid), accumulated 14 points in the first ranking match. She was, in fact, tied on points with eventual gold medallist Doreen Vennekamp of Germany.

In the medal match, things got tense as Manu started her first series of five shots with only two hits to find herself at the very bottom of the pile. However, in the second series, she missed only one.

After 15 shots, Manu was yet to make the double digits, stuck on a sorry 9. China’s Xiong Yaxuan, placed immediately above her, was on 10 points.

In the next set of competition shots, the eight-time World Cup gold medallist showed what she is made of as she pocketed all the five points on offer. Not only did she surpass Yaxuan, but she had also established a two-point gap in between.

Off her last series, Manu registered four, but Du Ziyue, the other Chinese shooter in fray, was up to the task. Vennekamp, a crowd favourite at the MP State Shooting Academy, missed only 10 of 40 shots to clinch gold.

Esha Singh (25m sports pistol) and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (50m rifle 3P) were the other Indians who made the rankings rounds on day four of competitions here, but unfortunately couldn’t climb the podium.

The results:

50m rifle 3 positions: Men: 1. Du Linshu (Chn), 2. Istvan Peni (Hun), 3. Jan Lochbihler (Sui); 25m sports pistol: Women: 1. Doreen Vennekamp (Ger), 2. Du Ziyue (Chn), 3. Manu Bhaker (Ind).

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