Sameer nicks silver from a China-stacked pack

With three Chinese shooters in the four-shooter medal round in the men’s junior 25m Rapid Fire pistol event in the ISSF World Championships in Cairo, it was a herculean task for 16-year-old Indian shooter Sameer to get a sniff at a medal. The Indian, who was the youngest in the medal round, though kept his cool to win a silver medal for India as he came close to winning the gold before Chinese 17-year-old Shiwen Wang stole a march. Sameer edged out the other Chinese shooters, 20-year-olds, Liu Yangpan and Liu Yang in the elimination round before he finished with 22 points against Shiwen’s 25 points after the end of eighth series in the final.

Coming into the final after finishing second in the four-shooter second ranking match behind Yangpan, the Indian was clubbed with Yangpan in his ranking round.

Wang and Yang qualified for the final from the first four-shooter ranking round. With the final consisting of eight series of five shots each and the fourth-placed shooter being eliminated after the fourth series, it was a battle among the four shooters to shoot scores above 9.7 in each shot to secure a point for each shot in the five-shot series.

Sameer started the final shooting three scores above 9.7 in the first series. The Indian was placed third with Yangpan scoring four points and Wang managing three points followed by Yang’s two points. With none of the Chinese shooters shooting in excess of three in the next series, Sameer shot a score of two in the second series to be placed fourth with five points behind Yang’s seven points and Yangpan and Wang too with five points.

With elimination in sight after the end of the next two series, the Indian shot a perfect third series of five shots to climb to the second spot with ten points behind Yangpan’s 11 points and ahead of Wang’s nine and Yang’s eight points. After Indian coach Rajesh Kumar took a time-out after the third series, Sameer fired four points to leap to the lead with a total of 14 points with Wang shooting four points and Yangpan only managing a score of two points to be placed third and second respectively. It was Yang, who became the first shooter to be eliminated despite a four in the fourth series with a total of 12 points.

Sameer with coach Rajesh Kumar (both in blue)

A score of two in the fifth series as compared to Wang’s three points and Yangpan’s two points meant that the Indian was tied at 16 points with Wang followed by Yangpan at 14. While Wang and Yangapan scored three points in the sixth series, Sameer’s two ensured that he and Wang remained in contention for the gold with Yangpan winning the bronze. Trailing Wang by one point, Sameer shot a score of four in the seventh series as compared to Wang’s three points to share the lead with Wang on 22 points each.

Wang, who shot first, fired the last series in haste and scored three points followed by the Indian only managing one point and handing Wang his first medal at any level at the International level.

Earlier, Sameer had finished fourth in the qualification stage behind Wang, Yangpan and Yang with a score of 573. It was an average score in comparison to Wang’s 586, Yangpan’s 582 and Yang’s 581 but the Indian would show his mettle in the ranking rounds.

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