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Pistol shooter Palak bags 20th Paris Olympic quota place for India

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Apr 14 (PTI) Reigning Asian Games champion Palak Gulia bagged the 20th Paris Olympic quota place in shooting for the country, clinching the bronze medal in the women's 10m air pistol event at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship (Rifle and Pistol) in Rio De Janeiro on Sunday.

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The 18-year-old from Jhajjar, Haryana, who had won an individual gold and team silver in the 10m air pistol at the Hangzhou Asian Games, overcame a slow start in the 24-shot final, displaying nerves of steel to climb steadily up the leaderboard and eventually end up scoring 217.6.

She eventually bowed out after the 22nd shot to settle for third place.

Armenia's Elmira Karapetyan won gold, while Thai teenager Kamonlak Saencha clinched the silver and the second available quota place.

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India have now clinched a maximum of 16 Paris Olympic spots available to a country in pistol and rifle events.

The country's shotgun shooters can still earn four Paris berths in men's and women's trap and skeet events when the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship (Shotgun) commences in Doha on April 19.

Palak and Sainyam had qualified for the eight-woman final on Saturday placed sixth and seventh respectively with identical scores of 578.

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Save Karpetyan, who had already booked her quota in earlier competitions, all other finalists could claim the available Paris berths.

Both Palak and Sainyam had a forgettable start to the final, but came back strongly even as Saencha and the experienced Veronika Major of Hungary threatened to pull away from the field in the early stages with some sublime shooting.

Palak and Sainyam were struggling to get past the fifth position before the eliminations started. However, things turned the Indians' way as Major suffered a meltdown.

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Ahead of the 19th shot, Palak took a 0.6 lead over Major with Sainyam exiting in fifth position.

The Hungarian could not hit the 10-ring as the Indian did it once and sealed the quota place.

Karapetyan (240.7) clinched gold on the final shot as Saencha (240.5) crumbled with a poor shot which fetched her 8.6. PTI AM AM UNG

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