18-year-old Rudrankksh Patil leads the airgun qualification

In a World Championship field that included seven of the eight shooters who were part of the Tokyo Olympics final, Indian Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil led the qualification, losing a score of 633.9-57x. This is his first ever World Cup appearance.

Joining Patil in the eighth final is India’s Kiran Ankush Jadhav, who finished sixth in qualifying with a score of 630.6. India’s third shooter in the competition, Arjun Babuta, did not have a good day at the Egypt International Olympic City, finishing with a score of 625.3 and finishing 48th out of 114 shooters.

Both Patil and Jadhav will now be part of the Cairo World Cup final line-up and a top 4 position for both can guarantee India’s first pistol/rifle quota for the Paris 2024 Olympics. They will be joined in the final by Chinese shooters Lihao Sheng and Haoran Yang – both Tokyo Games silver and bronze medalists respectively.

One of the main concerns of these World Cups for India was the lack of experience of the shooters. But at the biggest event the sport has to offer, Patil started with the highest marks, and a dip in numbers that one might expect when competing at this high level simply never materialized. In the 60-shot qualifying process, Patil started his first series of 10 with a score of 105.8 and then continued it in the next series two with mammoth scores of 106.1 and 106.4. In his next two series, he shot 105.1, 105.2.

There was some high-level shooting at Cairo Worlds that day, with the shooter scoring 630.0 points from eight positions to qualify. In a highly competitive field where scores were sky high, Patil’s scores never seemed to go down. He didn’t hit a single shot under 10.1 in the 60-shot qualifier and, remarkably, only five shots under 10.3.

Patil’s compatriot Kiran Ankush Jadhav had previously scored 630.6 in the first season of qualifiers and might have had a marginally higher score had it not been for his last shot which ended up being a 9.7. His 60-shot chart was: 105.6, 103.5, 105.4, 105.0, 105.9 and 105.2.

The 27-year-old athlete from Maharashtra is also a first-time world championship shooter and is currently employed by the Indian Navy. Jadhav was part of a group of six shooters in season one – all had scored 630.0 or more. He will now take part in the final where a top four result can award a quota for the Paris Olympics.

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