NEW DELHI: Rhythm Sangwan staged a fantastic comeback at the back end of the women’s 10m air pistol final to clinch a bronze medal at the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Rhythm finished behind two former Olympic champions, gold medal winner Anna Korakaki of Greece and silver medallist Olena Kostevych of Ukraine.
Rhythm’s effort warmed Indian hearts after Sarabjot Singh and Esha Singh both missed out on medals despite qualifying for the finals in the men’s and women’s 10m air pistol respectively.
A beaming @SangwanRhythm with her @issf_official World Cup 🥉 at Baku. This was her 1st individual World Cup medal at the senior level. Congratulations! 🔥 🔥 🔥🎉🎉🎉🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳#ISSFWorldCup #TeamIndia #Shooting pic.twitter.com/HGtpggeguP
— NRAI (@OfficialNRAI) May 10, 2023
On a day when the ISSF reverted to the Tokyo Olympics format, Rhythm shot 581 and Esha 579 in the 60-shot qualification stage to qualify for the eight-woman 24-shot final in third and seventh spots respectively.
A third Olympic champion in the finals field, Tokyo Mixed Team winner Jiang Ranxin of China had topped the field with a 588, seven ahead of second-best Kim Bomi of Korea.
Ukrainian legend Kostevych was the strongest of the blocks with a solid 10.6, but the Indians struggled early, particularly Esha who began with three shots in the eight-ring.
After 10-shots, Anna was in the lead with Olena behind here while Rhythm and Esha were in fifth and sixth positions.
At the end of the 20th however, while Esha had fallen away and finished in sixth place, Rhythm was up to third and a point behind second placed Olena and 2.7 behind Anna.
She kept fighting but eventually stopped a point behind the Ukrainian with 219.1 on the board. Having established a healthy lead, Anna closed out comfortably for gold with 241.3 while Olena shot 240.6 for silver.
It was also a breakthrough medal for Rhythm as this was her first individual senior medal at an Olympic descipline event.
Diya TS, the third Indian in contention, had shot 575 to finish in 17th place.