Beijing, Apr 23 : The 25-year-old Russian markswoman Yulia Karimova got her first ISSF World Cup gold medal after winning the women's 10m air rifle event at the Beijing stage of the 2019 ISSF World Cup series here on Tuesday.
Karimova, whose best previous World Cup record was a 7th-place finish in Baku in 2016, scored 630.4 points in the qualification round, which was led by Indian Apurvi Chandela by 0.5 points.
Asian shooters occupied six out of the top eight places in the final. South Korea and India had two shooters apiece. Iran and the host team China had one shooter each. The only non-Asian athlete other than Karimova was Anna Nielsen from Denmark.
Najmeh Khedmati from Iran had a strong start in the final, scoring 105.1 points to take the leading position after 10 shots. Karimova fought back in the elimination stage, shooting 10.7 and 10.8 to move ahead.
Eunji. Karimova had 21.0 points to conclude the match, and Kwon finished with the same score in the last two shots to see Karimova take the top step on the podium with 251.1 points. Karimova registered all her shots above 10.0 in the rest of the competition. With two shots left, she was 0.9 points over South Korean Kwon
Kwon took the silver and Keum Jihyeon got the bronze. Women's 10m air rifle would likely be the earliest event to produce a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics, and the first gold event stands to draw attention from local media.
China has already bagged the two Olympic quotas on offer at this event in the previous World Cups. "We send a few young shooters," said Chinese coach Du Li, who clinched the first gold medal for China from the same event at the 2004 Athens Games.
"It's a precious chance for them to practice. All the teams are improving as the requirements of the event become higher and higher." (UNI-Xinhua)