Shooting World Cup: Anish wins bronze in men's rapid fire, India top medal tally

Anish with his bronze medal at the Shooting World Cup in Cairo NRAI

Anish Bhanwala won his first senior individual World Cup medal at the ongoing Cairo Shooting World Cup on Thursday, with his bronze coming through three hard-fought shoot-offs.

His medal saw India finished this World Cup on top of the standings, with seven medals, including four gold.

Italian Massimo Spinella won gold with 32 hits in the medal match, while World Championships silver medallist Clement Bessaguet of France fell short by two hits after 40-shots.

Anish had qualified for the ranking round in sixth place with a score of 581. He was in second place overnight and shot 287 in the rapid-fire round to make the cut. He found himself alongside Frenchman Yan Chesnel, Czech Republic's Matej Rampula and Massimo, in the second of the two ranking matches. And this is where he had to go though three shoot-offs against Yan Chesnel. They had tied the first two with three and four hits each. In the third, Yan finally wilted with two hits and Anish shot four to go through.

The youngest in the medal match, Anish began with a bang, getting five hits out of five in the first rapid-fire series of shots while all others opened with three hits each. He had a tough second series though but came back with a strong four hits in the third to jointly lead the match with 11 hits along with the Bessaguet.

In the fourth, all three except Bessaguet got five hits and Anish was back in the lead and assured of a medal. Christian Reitz was knocked out at this stage with 13 hits.

Anish then had two average series of two and three hits respectively and bowed out in third, as Massimo went on to win.

"I had come fifth in two finals before and was determined today to win my first World Cup medal," he said after the match.

Giving an insight into his state of mind before the shoot-offs, Anish said, "I was focusing on keeping myself calm and it paid off. During the national camp, we have been training on how to self-regulate during pressure situations and it helped today.

"The tougher one was the fourth series in the medal match, where I had to beat the former Olympic champion (Rio Olympics gold medallist Christian Reitz of Germany). I told myself this is the series which will make my dream come true, visualised it and executed perfectly. That made me happy."

In women's 50m rifle 3 positions, India finished outside the medals bracket. Sift Kaur Samra shot 585 in qualification to finish 16th while Manini Kaushik (584) and Anjum Moudgil (593) finished 22nd and 27th respectively.