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Sift Kaur Samra smashes world record to give India first individual gold at Asian Games 2023

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Indian shooter Sift Kaur Samra created history by smashing every record possible on her way to winning gold in the women’s 50m rifle 3 position event on Day 4 at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. This was India’s first individual gold at this Games and the fifth top finish overall. The previous four gold medals came in various team events in shooting, women’s cricket, and equestrian. Ashi Chouksey, the other Indian in the event, bagged bronze in the same event, taking India’s overall medal tally at Hangzhou to 18.

Indian shooter Sift Kaur Samra reacts after winning the gold in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions event at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)
Indian shooter Sift Kaur Samra reacts after winning the gold in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)

Sift shattered the world record and needless to say, also the Asian record and the Games record in a performance for the ages. The 22-year-old finished with a total score of 469.6 after 15 shots each in the kneeling, prone and standing positions. Her score was 2.6 more than the previous world record held by Seonaid McIntosh in Baku earlier this year.

To put Sift’s performance into perspective in this event on Wednesday, the silver medal winner, China’s Qiongyue Zhang, managed a total score of 462.3, which is 7.3 less than the Indian shooter at the top. She, however, managed to change the colour of her medal in the last stroke as India’s Ashi faltered with a disastrous 8.9 in the standing position to lose her second spot. All the Chinese needed was a 9.9 to erase the 1.2 lead and get silver. Ashi had to be content with the bronze medal with a total of 451.9.

Before her triumph in the final, Sift broke the Asian Games record in qualification with a total score of 594 (out of 600) along with China’s Xia Siyu, who finished on top by virtue of higher inner 10 scores (closer to the centre of the target.) Chouksey had a total of 590 and qualified in sixth position. Manini Kaushik, meanwhile, finished 18th with a score of 580.

This is Sift’s first gold in senior competitions. She had won bronze medals in the ISSF World Cup in 2023 and 2022. Her only gold was in the junior cup in 2022.

This was Sift and Ashi’s second medal of the day. Both the shooters along with Manini Kaushik won silver in the team event of the same event earlier in the day with a cumulative score of 1764. China won gold.

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