Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Manu Bhaker Strikes Gold Again at ISSF World Cup

Manu Bhaker at ISSF World Cup Manu Bhaker 16 won gold in 10m Air Pistol event at ISSF World Cup
Kristopher Love | 07 March, 2018, 20:49

Bhaker struck her second goal in the 10m Air Pistol mixed team event.

The ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara (MEX) will continue tomorrow with three more finals: the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team, scheduled at 11:30 am (UTC+6:00), the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team, scheduled at 1:15 pm, and the Trap Women final, taking place at 4:30 pm. The 31-year-old shooter finished with 217.0 points, claiming her fourth World Cup medal in the Air Pistol event.

Bhaker, all of 16 and making her ISSF World Cup debut, was competing against experienced shooters, those who have won medals at this level of competition in the 10 metre air pistol.

This was India's fourth medal of the competition with Shahzar Rizvi and Jitu Rai winning gold and bronze in the Men's 10M Air Pistol and Mehuli Ghosh winning bronze in the Women's 10M Air Rifle respectively, on day one of competitions. She became the youngest Indian shooter to win a World Cup gold.

Two years ago, when she took up shooting after being cajoled by coach Naresh, she showed immediate promise as her first shot was a 10. India's tally at the ISSF World Cup has risen to seven medals.

What makes her performance impressive is that two years ago she had not even taken up pistol shooting. Shooting happened to her by chance after a brush with contact sports (boxing, martial arts) and Bhaker has already stamped her class in the tournaments she competed in. "But I knew I could not afford to think too much about these shots and had to quickly get these off my mind", explained Manu.

The third step of the podium was taken by France's Celine Goberville, victor of the ISSF crystal globe at last year's World Cup Final in New Delhi (IND). Sunday's gold was another testament to her talent. She picks up a new sport quite easily.

She fired a few shots that found the centre of the target and there was no looking back. Bhaker's tryst with shooting began when her father took her to the range and asked her to try her hand at the sport. She practices for about four-five hours a day.

Last year, during the Nationals in Kerala, she shocked multiple World Cup medallist Heena Sidhu, breaking her record of 240.8 with 242.3 in the final.

She is a student of Universal Senior Secondary School in Goriya village in Jhajjar district. It was a gap, very hard to bridge for Manu, as along with shooting a great shot herself, she had to depend on her opponent's mistake.

Manu considers former shooting ace and junior national coach Jaspal Rana, as her mentor. She was followed by Anna Korakaki of Greece who scored 177.0 points and concluded in 5th place. I just have to fine tune the small details.

"I wrote to her, "you have got what you wanted, now it's over".