India’s teenage sensation Manish Narwal stole the show with a new world record on his way to gold as curtains fell on the Al Ain 2021 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup on Wednesday (24 March).
Narwal, the Sydney 2019 World Championship bronze medallist, overcame a competitive field that included Paralympic and world champions Iran’s Sareh Javanmardi and Ukraine’s Oleksii Denysiuk, to win the P4 (mixed 50m pistol SH1) event. The Indian finished with 229.1 points, enough to break the previous world record of Serbia's Rastko Jokic (228.6) set in 2019.
This was the only world record broken at Al Ain 2021, as Javanmardi equalled the P2 (women’s 10m air pistol SH1) the previous day.
“I feel very pleased and humble to have won the gold with a new world record here,” Narwal said. “This will boost my preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Games. I am happy that I could execute the shots as per planned and as per my training routine.”
The 19-year-old shot 5.7 points better than runner-up Javanmardi, the three-time world and two-time Paralympic champion. During the elimination round, Narwal and his compatriot Singhraj led the way before Javanmardi joined the podium race. She was able to bump Singhraj to third place.
Narwal’s gold was also India’s second at Al Ain 2021 after Singhraj clinched a gold in P1 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1).
SPAIN’S SPECIAL DAY
Meanwhile, Spain can return home with a gold as London 2012 silver medallist Juan Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo took the top honours in the R6 (mixed 50m rifle prone SH1) over UAE’s home favourite Abdulla Sultan Alaryani.
In a tight race that saw several lead changes, the Spaniard pipped the Paralympic champion by 0.5 points with the final score reading 245.4-244.9. India’s Sidhartha Babu settled for the bronze.
FIVE FOR UKRAINE
Team Ukraine, which displayed a brilliant show throughout Al Ain 2021, signed off with another gold and silver when Anastasiia Telizhenko defeated compatriot Vitalii Plakushchyi in a thriller for the R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2). Telizhenko (253.8) bettered Plakushchyi by just .8 points in the final stage, as Turkey’s Hakan Cevik rounded off the podium.
Telizhenko’s gold was Ukraine’s fifth as they finished on top of the medal standings with 11, five being gold, ahead of hosts United Arab Emirates who totalled five, including three gold medals. India collected seven medals with a pair of titles.
A total of 120 athletes from 24 nations competed in the World Cup held at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club, the same shooting range that will host the 2022 World Championships. This was the first World Shooting Para Sport competition in more than one year and complete results from Al Ain 2021 can be found on World Shooting Para Sport’s website.