India won its fourth gold of the Hangzhou Asian Games as the trio of Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh and Rhythm Sangwan combined to finish on top in women's 25m pistol team on Wednesday. India now have sixteen medals overall, with shooting contributing seven of those so far.
Manu and Esha also qualified for the individual final for another two-Indian shooting final, which will be held at 12 noon today.
Manu, who has the Asian Games record in qualification set at the last edition in 2018, topped the charts with a score 590 (28x inner 10s). Esha was fifth with a score of 586 (17x) however Rhythm Sangwan, the world record holder in qualification, missed out after finishing seventh. In any case, rules permit only two shooters per country to compete in the final.
In the team event, which is calculated based on the cumulative score of a country's shooters in qualification, India stayed ahead of China throughout the two days. The qualification of women's 25 pistol is divided into precision and rapid stage, spread over two days.
After stage 1 of the qualifications on Tuesday (precision), India led China by a narrow 2-point margin. Leading the charge was Manu, who topped qualification individually with a 294 (14x), while Esha was joint second with China's Feng Sixuan on 292 (9x). Rhythm, meanwhile, finished 11th in that stage, with a 290 (6x).
On Wednesday, Esha and Rhythm shot in the first relay and kept India in the top position, maintaining the 2-point lead.
Manu, who was leading the group even after the first stage, then came in and sealed the gold with the clutch shooting she is known for her qualification, shooting 296 out of 300.
Manu had missed out on a medal at the last Asian Games, when she was only 16, and she will be hoping to rectify that this time around. She has gone through a roller coaster since but a medal here will make it worth it all. Esha, coming off of a mixed team gold at the World Championship last month, also has the wherewithal to win an individual medal.
In the final, the scoring system will go from a a points-based system to a hit-or-miss system where a shot of 10.2 or higher counts as a hit. The final starts with four five-shot series after which the shooter with the lowest total is eliminated.