Ankur Mittal became the first Indian to win the double trap gold at the shooting World Championships after scoring 140 in Changwon, South Korea on Saturday. China's Yiyang Yang won silver with an identical score. Slovakia's Hubert Andrzej Olejnik won bronze after being the first shooter to miss in the shoot-off, which was necessitated after all three shooters ended with a score of 140.
Olejnik was the first shooter to be eliminated in the shoot-off after he missed the second shot while Yiyang missed the fourth shot. Mittal managed to hit the clay on all the four shots to finish first.
Mittal is only the second Indian after Manavjit Singh Sandhu to win gold in a shotgun event at the Worlds. He's the fifth Indian overall to win gold at the worlds after Abhinav Bindra, Sandhu, Tejaswini Sawant and Om Mitharval.
The Indian team of Mittal, Mohd Asab and Shardul Vihan also won bronze in the team event with a score of 409. Italy and China won gold and silver with score of 411 and 410 respectively.
Asab finished seventh in the individual event with a score of 135, while 15-year-old Vihan, who won silver at the Asian Games last month, finished 15th with a score of 134.
Mittal won India's third medal in the senior competition at these Worlds after Anjum Moudgil and Om Mitharval, who had won silver and gold respectively in the 10m air rifle and 50m pistol respectively.
India have also won five golds, six silvers and six bronzes in the junior competition, taking them to second in the medal table behind hosts South Korea.
Mittal had a hugely productive year in 2017, when he won a silver at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi in July and then a gold at the Asian Championships. He followed that up with a gold at the Acapulco World Cup and then assured himself of qualification for the World Cup finals by taking a silver at the Shotgun World Championships in Moscow.
He was also ranked world no. 1 in the double trap event after his stellar 2017. However, the double trap event is no longer a part of the Olympics. Interestingly, India's first-ever shooting medal at the Olympics had come in the double trap event, when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won silver in Athens in 2004. Rathore, who had won bronze in 2003, is the only other Indian to medal in the double trap event at the World Championships.
Mittal had also won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year in Gold Coast. In an earlier interview with ESPN, Mittal had acknowledged that his dominance of the sport will be fleeting. Ever since the double trap was removed from the list of Olympic events last year, Mittal knew the event's popularity would fade. "After the rule change, no one wants to shoot because it will not be possible to win an Olympic medal in it. It is an expensive sport and there is no sense in continuing if there is no benefit to the shooter," he had said, insisting on continuing with the discipline at least till the end of the recently concluded Asian Games.