New Delhi 2024: Agarwal delivers gold, Paris 2024 quota for hosts

The mother of two finishes ahead of Paralympic stars Zhang and Lekhara; Jangho, Chao and De La Forest win too on the opening day 09 Mar 2024
Shooters pose for a picture
India's Mona Agarwal (centre) was all smiles after winning her first international gold medal ahead of Paralympic stars in New Delhi.
ⒸParalympic Committee of India
By Priyanka Sharma l For World Shooting Para Sport

Emotions ran high, tears rolled down as promising Mona Agarwal clinched the first gold medal and a Paris 2024 Paralympic quota for the hosts India at the Dr. Karni Singh shooting ranges in New Delhi on Saturday (9 March).

The New Delhi 2024 World Cup opened with home shooters putting up a brilliant show even as three other nations – Kazakhstan, New Zealand and France – celebrated quota spots earned by their respective shooters in a star-studded field.  

A new star

With a field comprising Slovakian legend Veronica Vadovicova and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold and silver medallists Avani Lekhara and Cuiping Zhang, Agarwal led throughout the Elimination round.

She rode on her accurate and consistent shooting in the final for a total of 250.7 which was laced by two 10.8s in the final competition series. In the process, she finished ahead of champions Zhang (248.8) and Lekhara (227.0).

“It was a very proud and a special moment.”

“I used to always watch on television when the country’s flag is being raised - I always wanted to realise that moment. Today was that moment for me,” said the shooter from Rajasthan, north India, who clinched her first gold medal in her only fourth international.

Agarwal, a mother of two kids, says it was her kids who inspire her every day. “My kids always ask me when am I winning a medal for India? -- That was my motivation.”

‘Over the moon’

Earlier, Asian Para Games 2022 gold medallists Lee Jangho continued his good run of form to open the new season on a winning note.

In the R1 - men's 10m air rifle standing SH1 final, Jangho shot a total of 249.9 to take the gold ahead of Kazakhstan's Yerkin Gabbasov (246.8) and Greece’s Sotirios Galogavros (224.8) in a thrilling final.

“I learn and try to amend my mistakes in competitions and that helps me keep up the good scoring,” said the Rio 2016 Paralympic bronze medallist Jangho, who aims to improve his medal colour in Paris.  

With the Paris 2024 quota spot at stake, the fight for the one quota for Paris 2024 was between Galogavros and Gabbasov, with the former jumping the leaderboard from sixth to eventual third place.

But in the end, it was Gabbasov taking the honours. It was also the first quota for Kazakhstan in the sport.

“I’m very happy to get the silver. I gradually went up and took the medal.  France’s Michaud (Jean-Louis) and Greece’s Sotirios (Galogavros) were chasing in the last few series, but I stayed focused and played my own game. I feel over the moon,” said the Kazakh who was playing only his second international.

Stamping dominance

Another top shooter, Tanguy De La Forest, the reigning double world champion, was in action in the R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 event. 

De La Forest (253.7) stamped his dominance yet again winning a thrilling R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2 final in New Delhi. Athens 2004 gold medallist Michael Johnson, who settled for silver with a difference of 0.5 points, secured a quota for New Zealand. 

“It’s my first time here in India and I’m happy to win here. It was difficult in the beginning, but I felt better and better as I shot in the final. I take step by step, competition by competition; and for now, my goal is to do well in my next events here,” said the 45-year-old who is one of the oldest members in the French shooting para sport team.

In the only pistol event on the opening day, Yang Chao, the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 champion in P1 10m air pistol SH1 event, shot 27 in the final series and took the gold. Poland’s Szymon Sowinski (24) and Xing Huang (21) settled for silver and bronze, respectively. 

Romain Ramalingom Sellemoutou who finished fifth took the quota spot for France in the event.

Competition at the New Delhi 2024 World Cup continues with three finals lined up for Sunday. 

As many as 268 shooters from 49 nations are in action, vying for 20 quota spots for their nations, over six days action.

Results and schedule of the competitions can be found here.