Muskan clinched the gold medal in the women's 25m pistol as India finished right behind toppers China in the medals tally at the ISSF Junior World Cup on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old Indian bested China's Qin Sihang and Thailand's Kanyakorn Hirunphoem, who respectively took silver and bronze in the pistol event, the tournament's penultimate on the final day. The team gold was won by Muskan, Manu Bhaker and Devanshi Rana, adding to India's rich medal haul.
India thus ended with 22 medals, matching China's nine gold but slipped to second in the overall medal count. India also secured five silver and eight bronze medals. Muskan's medal was India's fourth individual gold in the prestigious tournament. Muskan — who finished 4th at last year's ISSF Junior World Championship in Suhl, Germany -- took the lead at the end of the sixth round when she nailed a perfect 5-hit series and found herself sitting on a 3-point advantage over her closest rival, China's Qin Sihang (16).
Muskan successfully defended that lead throughout the rest of the final, taking gold with 35 hits, while Qin finished with 34 and the silver medal around her neck. It's the first ISSF medal for both the Indian and the Chinese junior shooter. The bronze medal was awarded to Thailand's 16-year-old Kanyakorn Hirunphoem, currently ranked 62nd in the world in this event. The Thai shooter — silver medallist in the Air Pistol event four days ago — finished with 26 hits and pocketed her second medal in Sydney.
A second Indian finalist — 16-year-old Manu Bhaker — was placed in 4th position with 18 hits, surviving a shoot-off at the end of the sixth series against Zhu Siying (16) of China. Zhu then took 6th place with 12 hits, while her teammate Xiao Jiaruixuan (15) was placed 5th with 14 hits, in spite of a 2-point penalty given to her for early loading. Finally, two first-time participants — India's 18-year-old Arunima Gaur and China's Li Xue — respectively took the 7th place with 8 hits and 8th place with 7.
The top of the team podium was taken by Bhaker, Muskan and Rana, while their country-mates Gaur, Mahima Turhi Agrawal and Tanu Rawal secured silver. Thailand's Hirunphoem, Viramon Kidarn and Luxciga Srinitivoravong were placed 3rd. Meanwhile, the Indian trio of Anantjeet Singh Naruka, Ayush Rudraraju and Gurnilal Singh Garcha bagged the team silver in men's junior skeet with a total of 348. Naruka finished fifth in the individual skeet final.