Arjun Babuta wins 10m air rifle gold at Changwon ISSF World Cup

Gold medallist Arjun Babuta on the podium at the Changwon Shooting World Cup NRAI

Young Indian shooter Arjun Babuta won gold in men's 10m air rifle event to clinch the India's first medal at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Changwon on Monday.

In the gold medal clash, Babuta beat Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Lucas Kozeniesky of USA with a lopsided 17-9 margin. The 23-year-old from Punjab, who has been representing India since 2016, had earlier topped the ranking match with 261.1 points to qualify for the gold medal clash.

This is his first gold for the senior side. He had bagged won gold at the 2016 Junior World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan.

The other Indian in the fray, Parth Makhija, who also qualified for the ranking event following a good show in the qualification Sunday, finished fourth with a score of 258.1, behind 33-year-old Israeli shooter Sergey Richter, who scored 259.9.

In the final, the Indian raced to a 10-4 lead after the first seven single-shot series. The winner of each series gets two points while the points are spilt in case of a tie and the first to 16 wins the match. The American did not give up till then end but Babuta shot inner 10s when it mattered most and finished clinically in the end.

This was also National foreign Rifle coach Thomas Farnik's first medal on his very first international assignment. The Austrian had been appointed to the job just ahead of the Changwon ISSF World Cup.

India have fielded a 32-strong squad in the Changwon World Cup which has more than 430 athletes from 44 nations competing. The World Cup ends on July 21st with 30 gold medals on the roster.

With inputs from PTI