Jakarta: India’s Rahi Sarnobat held her nerve and prevailed in a double shoot-off in the 25m pistol against Thailand’s Naphaswan Yangpaiboon and became the first Indian female shooter to win a gold at the Asian Games.
In the pulsating contest, both shooters ended up in a tie at 34 points after 10 series of five shots each — forcing the contest into the shoot-off.
However, the first shoot-out couldn’t split the two gold-hungry shooters who matched each other point-to-point.
With the duo having found the target four times each, the contest was forced into the second shoot-out. Here, the Kolhapur-born shooter managed to gain that vital edge for the title as she shot three and the Thai shot twice. The bronze was clinched by South Korea’s Kim Minjung.
“This gold has come after months of gruelling hard work. I want to thank Olympic Gold Quest, India for believing in me and supporting me through the years and my coach Munkhbayar Dorjsuren, who has worked equally hard for my medal,” said the 27-year-old, who with her effort also became the sixth India shooter after Saurabh Chaudhary, Jaspal Rana, Randhir Singh, Jitu Rai and Ronjan Sodhi to win a gold at continental event,
Working as a deputy collector in Kolhapur, Rahi in 2016 was struggling with an elbow injury and had very little success to show coming into this event. She had roped in two-time world champion and Olympic medallist Dorjsuren from Germany to be by her side for this event and that paid rich dividends in the end.
Dorjsuren revealed that she had to work on Rahi’s technique and the mental aspect of the game. “She was already a high-level shooter and needed some tweaks in her game. It was a close final, but I had prepared her for the shoot-off,” said a delighted Dorjsuren.
“The coach had achieved a lot in her career and so the attitude she brings for match preparation is different and that helped,” said Sarnobat, a double gold medallist at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and bronze medallist in the 25m pistol pairs event at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
Elsewhere, four wushu players brought as many bronze medals for India after losing their semi-final bouts. India’s Santosh Kumar took bronze after losing to Truong Giang Bui of Vietnam in Wushu men’s sanda -56kg semi-finals. Naorem Roshibina Devi also ended with a bronze after losing to Cai Yingying of China in Women’s sanda -60kg semi-finals.