Heena strikes gold at World Cup

New Delhi: Indian shooter Heena Sidhu won her first ISSF gold medal when she triumphed in the women’s 10m air pistol at the ISSF World Cup Final in Munich, Germany, on Sunday.

The 24-year-old shooter beat reigning world champion Zorana Arunovic of Serbia by over five points.

Heena was not even supposed to feature in the competition, but was called to compete when the three shooters in front of her in the qualification process pulled out for personal reasons.

She beat the 26-year-old Arunovic in the final face-to-face for the yellow metal, aggregating 203.8 points to the Serb’s 198.6.

Four-time Olympian Viktoria Chaika of Belarus was third with 176.8 points.

“This medal is a bit of surprise. I was not even supposed to participate in this World Cup Final. The qualified athlete could not come here, and the following two qualified shooters withdraw their participation. I was the next in the qualification line and I picked up the chance. I had to do my visa and arrange a flight to come here in two days!” Sidhu said.

Sidhu had never won a world-level competition before, and her best result in this year's ISSF World Cup Series had been two eighth-place finishes in Changwon (Korea) and in Munich.

It was the points earned at those two events that allowed her to compete at the season finale.

“I have been training for years without winning any world-level medal. Today was just my day: everything came together,” the Ludhiana-born girl said.

Her previous best achievement was a gold medal, along with Annu Raj Singh, in women’s Pairs 10 metre air pistol at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She also won a silver in the singles event.

Defending champion Olena Kostevych of Ukraine, the winner of last year’s ISSF World Cup Final in Bangkok, was fourth with 158.8 points, ahead of home favourite Germany’s 44-year-old Munkhbayar Dorjsuren (138.5), a 1992 and 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist.

Alejandra Zavala of Mexico, who led the morning's qualifications, finishing in eighth place at the end of the final.

According to the new ISSF rules, the qualification score is not carried forward into the final. The medal match starts from zero.

After the eighth final shot - and from there on after every two shots — the competitor with the lowest score has to leave the match.

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.