Cairo Shotgun World Cup: Miaraj Khan and Ganemat Sekhon strike gold:The seasoned Mairaj Ahmad Khan and the up-and-coming Ganemat Sekhon combined effectively to win gold in the Skeet Mixed Team event in the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun in Cairo, Egypt, giving India their first medal of the competition.
The Indian duo overcame Mexicans Luis Raul Gallardo Oliveros and Gabriela Rodriguez 6-0 in the gold medal match. Italy took bronze through their crack pair of two-time World Championship silver medallist Simona Scocchetti and Rio Olympic champion Gabrielle Rossetti.
Mairaj, who won his fifth senior ISSF medal on the day, was in brilliant form in the 30-team qualification round shooting 74/75 to help the Indian duo shoot a combined 143 out of 150. That helped them reach the title decider in the top position after they won a shoot-off with the Mexicans 4-3, as the latter had also finished with a score of 143.
In the decider, Mairaj again set the ball rolling with a perfect four-hits which was complimented by Ganemat as the Mexicans missed three birds to give India a 2-0 lead. Mairaj repeated a perfect four in the second series and even though Ganemat missed a couple, the Mexicans again missed three as India pulled through 4-0. The final series became a bit more open when Mairaj missed two targets and Ganemat one, but the Mexicans missed four in all to hand India the gold by a comprehensive margin.
“I was very confident when I started. We knew from the beginning of the day that we will win gold today. We are preparing for the Paris Olympics,” a confident Mairaj was quoted as saying by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
Ganemat also spoke of “redemption” after the Indians, including Mairaj and herself, had drawn a blank in the individual skeet competitions. It was a fourth senior world cup medal for Ganemat as well, including a second gold in the Mixed Team event.