Jitu Rai
Indian shooter Jitu Rai (right) booked a place for the Indian contingent at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de JaneiroIANS File

Indian pistol shooter Jitu Rai finished second at the men's 50m pistol at the Shooting World Championships in Granada, Spain, on Tuesday, to not only bag a silver medal, but also a berth for India in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Rai, who is currently ranked fifth in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rankings, became the first Indian (in all events) to book himself a berth for the Indian contingent in the 2016 Rio Games.

The 27-year-old from Lucknow missed out on the gold medal by a mere 1.2 points to South Korean world record holder and double Olympic champion Jin Jingoh. While Jin scored a total of 192.3 points in 20 shots, Jitu scored a total of 191.1 points, narrowly missing the top spot at the World Championships.

Chinese Olympic champion Pang Wei had to settle for the bronze medal, as he came in third. Xuan Vinh Hoang of Vietnam finished fourth to grab the final quota place for the 2016 Olympics.

The Army marksman, who was born in the Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal, has been having a brilliant year on the circuit, winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Scotland, while also garnering back-to-back medals at the World Cup, earlier this year.

His form seems to have been on the rise over the past couple of years, with this silver being his fifth consecutive international medal in the calendar year.

"It's an extremely proud moment for us to see Jitu Rai become the first Indian athlete in all Olympic events to qualify for the Rio Olympics," said Raninder Singh, President, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), in a statement to India Today.

"We were all very confident about the way Jitu has been shooting and he has repaid our faith in an emphatic manner. We hope that this is the beginning of many more such successes in the coming days."

Meanwhile, Indian women's shooter Ayonika Paul failed to grab a medal, or a quota at the Rio Olympics, in the final round of the women's 10-metre air rifle event at the World Championships, where she finished eighth.

Paul breezed into the final round with a top score of 620.8 points in the qualifying round. She, however, failed to keep the same rhythm in the medal round, scoring only 80.9, to finish eighth in the event. At least a sixth placed finish would have ensured her a quota for the Indian contingent for the Rio Games.

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