Birthday boy Deepak Kumar secured India’s 10th Olympic quota in shooting while Manu Bhaker claimed the women’s 10m air pistol gold medal in the 14th Asian Championship at Doha on Tuesday.
Deepak gifted himself a bronze medal in men’s 10m air rifle on the opening day of the championship.
The Jakarta Asian Games silver medallist shot 227.8 in the eight-man final to finish third on the podium and add to India’s quotas for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Later in the day, 17-year-old Bhaker shot 244.3 to win the top prize in her event. The Haryana sensation, though, had already secured an Olympic quota at the Munich World Cup in May.
China’s Qian wang and Ranxin Jiang won the silver and bronze respectively in Bhaker’s event.
The other Indian competing in the event, Yashaswini Singh Deshwal finished sixth in the final.
The third Indian in the fray, Annu Raj Singh shot 569 for a 20th place finish.
The Indian trio claimed the team bronze with a total of 1731, behind Korea and China respectively.
Deepak, who turned 32 on Tuesday, qualified for the final in third place at the Lusail Shooting Complex after registering a sequence of scores that read 103.1 104.8 104.6 105.0 105.6 103.7, giving him an aggregate of 626.8.
The rifleman, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara last year, started the final with a 8.9, but roared back with nine straight scores of 10 and above to sit in third place after the first competition stage.
He continued to shoot well in the ensuing attempts and gifted himself a medal and his country a quota on the opening day of the prestigious tournament.
Deepak is the second Indian shooter to earn an Olympic quota in the men’s 10m air rifle event after Divyansh Singh Panwar, who secured it in April.
China’s Yukun Liu (250.5) claimed the gold medal after his incredible performance saw him shoot 10 and above in all the attempts.
The silver went to Haonan Yu (249.1), also a Chinese. However, China already has earned two quotas in the same event, so they are not entitled to get any more. A maximum of two Olympic berths can be won by a country per event.
Deepak was the most experienced of the three Indian shooters in the fray, the others being Kiran Ankush Jadhav and Yash Vardhan, who finished 14th and 30th respectively.
Divyansh and Sanjeev Rajput — both have secured quotas in earlier events — shot in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category.
The Junior Trap Mixed team pairing of Vivaan Kapoor and Manisha Keer also won a gold as India rounded off a profitable opening day at the Lusail Shooting Complex with five medals.
In the women’s 10m Air Rifle, the Indian trio of Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela won the team silver with a combined effort of 1883.2, finishing behind Korea (1891.7). Iran won the bronze.
Elavenil also made it through to the individual final, placing fifth eventually with a score of 187.1. She had earlier shot a solid 629 in qualification to make it to the finals in fourth place.
Anjum Moudgil missed making the finals narrowly, finishing ninth with a score of 627.6 while Apurvi Chandela finished 12th with 626.6.
India entered the tournament having secured nine Tokyo Olympics quotas in rifle and pistol events.
China are currently leading the charts with 25 quotas and is followed by Korea and hosts Japan with 12 slots each, in terms of quotas won.
With 38 quotas on offer, the country is fielding a 41-member team six entries for Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) across the 15 Olympic events.
The tournament is the last chance for shooters to earn quotas for the Tokyo Olympics, slated for next July-August.