Beijing: Leading the final from beginning to end, Abhishek Verma secured India’s fifth Olympic quota place in shooting, winning the 10m air pistol gold medal at the ISSF World Cup here Saturday.
Shooting in his maiden International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup final, the lawyer-turned-shooter led the field throughout the men’s 10m air pistol event to clinch the top spot with a total score of 242.7.
Russia’s Artem Chernousov took silver with a total of 240.4 points in the eight-man final. Korea’s Seungwoo Han finished with a bronze after shooting 220.0 in the final.
Son of a siting judge, Verma showcased his class in what was only his first ISSF World Cup final.
The Indians have sealed five quota places for the Tokyo Olympics so far with young Saurabh Chaudhary clinching one in 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year. With this, India have clinched both their quotas in this event. Incidentally, Verma made his World Cup debut in New Delhi but failed to qualify for the final at home.
In the Chinese capital on Saturday, Verma shot a total of 585 points to qualify for the final at the fourth spot.
He was the only Indian who progressed to the final with Shahzar Rizvi and Arjun Singh Cheema finishing 32nd and 54th respectively.
Verma, who had won a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol event during his India debut at the Asian Games, does not have much international exposure, making the feat even more creditable.
This was his fourth big final in less than nine months and a third international medal in his very first year.
He was on the job from the word go, evident from a score of 97 in his first qualifying series.
He shot a 100 in the fourth and finished with 98 and 97 for a qualification round score of 585, his best in a short international career.