16-year-wonder Malaika Goel wins silver medal for India in 10m air shooting

Glasgow, Jul 25: Unheralded 16-year-old Malaika Goel gave India their first shooting medal with a silver in the women’s 10m Air Pistol event while favourite Heena Sidhu fell by the wayside at the 20th Commonwealth Games here on Friday. Goel shot an aggregate of 197.1 in the finals to finish second and grab her first senior international medal after a close fight for the gold on the opening day of shooting competitions at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre at Dundee.

Singapore’s Shun Xie Teo won the gold, shooting 198.6 in total, a Final Commonwealth Games Record while Canada’s Dorothy Ludwig was a distant third with a 117.2 effort. Former world number one and a pre-competition favourite Heena Sindhu finished a disappointing seventh after topping the qualifications. She was the second shooter to be eliminated in the eight-women field in the final round.

Malaika Goel, who qualified for the final round at fourth, had a great start and she was leading till the fifth of the seven round elimination stage. She lost her way in the last two rounds to finish second. The youngster from Patiala was way above the rest in the first two rounds of the first competition stage as she had a total of 61.7 as against Shun Xie’s 58.0 and Dorothy’s 60.1 with five over-10 scores and one 9.9 shot.

Goel, who is taking part in her first Commonwealth Games, had two very bad shots in the first two rounds of the elimination stage as she could only come up with 8.8 and 8.6 and the gap at the top was closed down. At that stage, Canada’s Dorothy was at second and she even jumped to the top spot in the fifth round of the elimination stage only to be left out in the penultimate round to secure a bronze.

The two rank-bad shots in the first two rounds of the elimination stage apparently created pressure on Goel and she was beaten in the final stretch of two rounds by a consistent Shun Xie who shot just five below-10 shots in the whole of elimiation stage and among them two were 9.9.

Sidhu, on the other hand, was third before the elimination round started but she could not come up with any 10-plus shot later on to be eliminated in the second round of the final stage.