Manu Bhaker etched her name in record books when the shooter won the women's 10m Air Pistol gold medal at ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sunday, March 4.
The 16-year-old Haryana girl was trailing local favorite and two-time World Cup Finals winner Alejandra Zavala by 1.4 points.
She displayed nerves of steel by scoring 10.6 with her final shot, thereby clinching the yellow metal on what was also her international debut even as her 33-year-old nearest rival settled for Silver with an 8.8 on her final attempt.
France's Celine Goberville clinched the Bronze with a final score of 217.0 while India's Yashaswini Singh Deswal finished fourth after managing 196.1.
Bhaker set a new qualifying junior world record when she shot 572 on Saturday, March 3, thereby making it to the eight-woman final in the fifth place. The 21-year-old Deswal shot 571 to qualify in the seventh place.
Following Bhaker's Gold on the second day of the ongoing ISSF World Cup, India rose to the top of the medal table with five medals — two gold and three bronze medals.
"I am extremely happy at winning Gold, especially as this is my first World Cup. I look forward to perform even better in upcoming competitions," Bhaker was quoted by The Field as saying after her victory.
Shahzar Rizvi and Jitu Rai had earlier clinched gold and bronze medals in the men's 10m Air Pistol event in Guadalajara, while 19-year-old Mehuli Ghosh won the Bronze in the women's 10m Air Rifle event. The 22-year-old Meerut shooter Ravi Kumar had also won a Bronze in the men's 10m Air Rifle event.
National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh was quick to praise the Indian shooters. He lauded Bhaker for displaying "excellent composure", according to the Press Trust of India.
IBTimes India has compiled a list of things you need to know about Bhaker, India's new-found shooting sensation.
- Bhaker took to shooting only two years ago. She started pursuing the sport after her father took her to a shooting range.
- The 16-year-old trains at the Universal Senior Secondary School in Jhajjar, a city in the north Indian state of Haryana. She practices for about four-five hours a day.
- Bhaker is known for breaking records at will. She bettered Indian Olympian Heena Sidhu's long-standing national record when she won the 10m Air Pistol event at the 61st National Shooting Championship in Thiruvananthapuram in December 2017. She finished the tournament with nine Golds and a total of 15 medals.
- She claimed Gold in the 10m Air Pistol event for girls in the Khelo India School Games earlier this year. She broke two junior national records inside an hour at the meet in New Delhi.
- Bhaker's mother is confident that her daughter will represent India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, reported the Press Trust of India.
- Before taking to shooting, Bhaker was into boxing and the Manipuri martial art thang ta. She went on to win quite a few medals at the thang ta national championships.
- Bhaker's mother conceded she had forced her daughter to quit boxing after the girl suffered an eye injury in a bout. The shooter revealed she loved "bashing her opponents".
- She was also a state-level skating champion. She also played tennis and won a few medals in athletics in school meets.