Al Ain 2022: Dream debut for South Korean Jeongdu
Debutant overcomes a strong challenge from Paralympic stars to take first World title; Singhraj misses out on medal but secures Paris 2024 quota for India
South Korea’s Jo Jeongdu admitted that the win is yet to sink in.
Jeongdu won his first World Championships title displaying a steady game of shooting to overcome challenge from a strong field that had Paralympic medallists on the fourth day of the Al Ain 2022 on Wednesday (9 November).
The South Korean eventually finished on 235.7 to take the gold in P1-men’s 10m air pistol SH1, 2.6 points ahead of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallist in P3 event, Szymon Sowinski of Poland (233.1) and Server Ibragimov of Uzbekistan (213.3) who was in a shoot-off with Sowinski.
It was however a heartbreak for India’s double Paralympic medallist Singhraj who led a major part of the finals before faltering in crucial moment.
With last six shots remaining, Singhraj hit a poor 7 which ended his medal chances. He eventually finished fourth with a score of 191.3 but secured a quota for India owing to the top two position holders already have secured the quotas in Chateauroux 2022 World Cup in June.
The other quota was secured by Ibragimov.
Meanwhile, India’s other medal hope Manish Narwal, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion in P3 event, also exited early and settled for sixth place.
In the only final played on the day where the lead exchanged several times, Jeongdu made a progress to the top with eight shots remaining in the event. That was the turning point of the game. Until then, it was the Indian Singhraj who led the pack throughout.
The South Korean showed nerves of steel holding on to the lead until the end with Szymon following him closely.
“It feels unreal.”
“Coming into the event, I had expectation of doing well but getting the gold was unbelievable with Paralympic stars in the field.
“Now that I have won in one of the biggest events – the World Championships, I want to win at the Paralympic Games,” said Jeongdu who also added that he wasn’t looking into the score but was just focused on his shooting.
This was Korea’s second World title in individual events in two days after Kim Jungnam clinched the P3-mixed 25m pistol SH1 winning a shoot-off.
Team India, however, compensated with the team gold medal thanks to the efforts of Narwal, Singhraj and young Nihal Singh who aggregated with a score of 1704-34x.
Team India coach J.P. Nautiyal said: “The team has done very well, a score of 1704 in air pistol team event is great. I am happy that we started with a quota from Singhraj at the Worlds.”