Hangzhou: Birthday boy Sarabjot Singh and Divya TS faltered towards the end to let gold slip out of their hands in the 10m air pistol mixed team but the silver took India’s medal count from the shooting range to 19 at the Asian Games here on Saturday.
India has so far won six gold, eight silver and five bronze at the Asian Games, their best-ever showing in the continental showpiece.
The Indian pair was beaten to the gold medal by world champion marksman Zhang Bowen and compatriot Jiang Ranxin, who emerged 16-14 victors in the shoot-off for the top podium finish.
Sarabjot, who had won the men’s 10m air pistol team gold with Arjun Singh Cheema and Shiva Narwal on Thursday, looked on course to bring India its seventh gold in mixed team event partnering Divya but a few poor shots during the latter part of the shoot-off undid the good work done in the qualification round by the pair.
“I was a little bit nervous. There was too much shooting pressure,” said Sarabjot when asked about scoring a 9.9 on his crucial final shot.
“I practise belly breathing, before the match and after.”
Divya, who won her second silver medal, was pleased with her performance.
“It does feel good. We did a great job today. Thanks to my teammate as well. We gave it our best. I like the way I fought well in the finals. I really loved my shooting today, from my first shot to my last shot.”
The shooter from Karnataka, who also won a silver in women’s 10m air pistol team event, said she is now hoping to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“Next year is a big year. Working consistently and getting there (Paris) is very important. I’m trying to qualify and I’m preparing my best. We have very good, supporting coaches here. I’m very thankful to everybody who has supported my journey so far,” she said.
India started the finals with a flourish and were leading 11-7 till the ninth series of shots. But the experienced Chinese shooters rallied from thereon to equalise at 11-all and again at 14-all before Ranxin came up with a superb 10.7 and Bowen 10.3 giving no chance for the Indians to match up to the score.
Sarabjot, who turned 22 on Saturday, shot 9.9, while 28-year-old Divya had a rank poor shot of 10.5, which sealed their fate on the 15th shot.
In the qualification round, Sarabjot shot 291, while Divya scored 286 to aggregate 577 and enter the finals as the No.1 team ahead of China (576).
In the mixed team 10m air pistol event, the top-six teams in qualification enter the medal round but only the No.1 and No.2 placed teams play the shoot-off for gold, while teams placed between No.3 and No.6 compete for two bronze medals.
The South Korean pair of Lee Wonho and Kim Bomi defeated the Japanese duo of Morikawa Seiji and Yamada Satoko 16-8 for the first bronze, while Iranian shooters Amir Joharikhou and Haniyeh Rostamiyan defeated the Pakistani pair of Joseph Gulfam and Talat Kishmala 16-14 for the second bronze.