Twelve Indian shooters, including Tokyo Olympian Manu Bhaker, advanced to their respective final rounds at the ISSF Junior World Championship in Lima, Peru on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old Manu Bhaker qualified third in the women’s 10m air pistol event with a score of 574, just behind Rhythm Sangwan at second, with 577.
Junior Asian champion Esha Singh also joined Bhaker and Sangwan in the top eight that qualified for the final round.
Indian youngsters had a field day in the junior men’s 10m air rifle qualification too, with three countrymen making the final cut.
Rudrankksh Patil scored 630.2 to finish second, followed by Srikanth Dhanush (629.6) and Paarth Makhija (629.2) in the third and fourth position, respectively.
India’s rich form continued in the junior women’s 10m air rifle as well as junior men’s 10m air pistol, with three shooters from the nation advancing to the final of both events.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mehuli Ghosh led the Indian challenge in the women’s 10m rifle, scoring 630.9 to qualify third.
Ramita shot 629.8 to end in fourth spot while Nisha Kanwar’s 629.1 helped her finish fifth.
In the junior men’s 10m air pistol, Naveen and Sarabjot Singh were tied at the top with 584, but the former finished first courtesy of more inner 10s.
Vijayveer Sidhu, who won a silver at the New Delhi World Cup earlier this year, was the third Indian pistol shooter that made it to the final round.
The stellar performances by the young Indian shooters catapulted Team India to the gold medal position in all pistol and rifle team events.
The skeet shooters, however, still have two more rounds of qualification before the top six are decided for the final round.
After three rounds, Ganemat Sekhon, at third, is the highest-ranked Indian in the junior women’s skeet while Rajveer Gill is placed 10th in the junior men’s competition.
Sekhon, 20, is the first woman from India to win a skeet medal at a shooting World Cup.
Only athletes under the age of 21 are allowed to compete at the junior world championship and each nation can enter a maximum of six athletes in individual events with two of those under the age of 18.