Elavenil Valarivan shoots down World Cup gold

Elavenil Valarivan
Elavenil Valarivan claimed her maiden senior World Cup gold medal, finishing on top in the women's 10m air rifle competition. File photo: AFP

Rio de Janeiro: The fast-rising Elavenil Valarivan claimed her maiden senior World Cup gold medal, finishing on top in the women's 10m air rifle competition to become only the third Indian to achieve the feat.

The 20-year-old's top prize, however, did not translate into an Olympic quota for India as Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil have already secured the maximum two berths available per country in last year's World Championships.

The fancied Chandela and Moudgil, world number one and two respectively, finished outside the medal bracket in the ISSF Rifle/Pistol Stage event here.

Moudgil finished sixth in the final with 166.8, while Chandela could not clear the qualifications, finishing 11th.

In her debut year at the senior level, Elavenil shot 251.7 in the finals to help India extend their new-found dominance in the event, leaving behind Seonaid Mcintosh of Britain, who won silver with an effort of 250.6 on Wednesday.

Chinese Taipei's Ying-Shin Lin won bronze as well as one of the two Tokyo 2020 quota places on offer. The second quota was won by Iran.

Anjali Bhagwat and Chandela are the country's other two shooters to win gold in the event.

India have now won three out of the four World Cup gold medals in the women's 10m air this year.

A student of English literature and one who loves to go on long drives, Elavenil is a junior World Cup gold-medallist besides being an Asian champion.

Elavenil, who wanted to be a track and field athlete in her school days, rose to prominence after being selected for Project Leap, an initiative launched by Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang to train youngsters.

Elavenil, who hails from Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu but resides in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, had earlier pipped her senior Moudgil in qualification, with an impressive 629.4 to the world No.2s 629.1 as they took the fourth and fifth spots through to the eight-woman final.

World number one Chandela failed to qualify for the finals, finishing 11th with a score of 627.7.

Anjum led the finals field after the first five shots. Seonaid began as the Indian finished and the eight finalists bunched closely at the top.

The Briton then attempted to pull ahead after 10 shots as Moudgil had a poor second series to go down to fifth by the 12th shot.

However, Elavenil, who was shooting brilliantly, went ahead of Seonaid. American Mary Tucker was the first to be eliminated in eighth place after the 12th shot.

Korea's Kim, then went out in seventh after the 14th shot at which stage there were three shooters, including Elavenil and Seonaid, who were jointly in the lead with a score of 147.1. Moudgil maintained her fourth place at that stage.

Moudgil finished fifth losing to Romania's Laura-Georgeta Coman. The Indian shot a 10.1 to Coman's 10.4 to go out in fifth.

Meanwhile, Elavenil was dishing out a master-class with a series of high 10s, which saw her maintain a 1.4 points lead with four shots of the 24-shot final to go.

Seonaid and Elavenil battled till the end, but it was the Indian who prevailed for a milestone win.

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