Olympic quota winner Anish Bhanwala gained a stranglehold over the top spot in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol with a score of 587 in the third Olympic Shooting Trials at the Madhya Pradesh Academy in Bhopal on Saturday.

Anish improved his aggregate to gain a strong lead over the other Olympic quota winner in the event, Vijayveer Sidhu. The third best, Bhavesh Shekhawat lost some ground with a score of 577, but he was still breathing down the neck of Vijayveer for the second spot among the five.

In the women’s 25-metre sports pistol, world record holder and Olympic quota winner Rhythm Sangwan shot a top score of 586 but found herself in the fourth spot behind Manu Bhaker, Simranpreet Kaur Brar and Esha Singh in the overall aggregate. Rhythm had slipped with scores of 576 and 566 in the first two trials in Delhi.

While Manu stands strong at the top with an assailable lead, Simranpreet and Esha look to be fighting for the second spot from the event.

Rhythm has been faring well in air pistol and thus can aspire to gain her Olympic entry through that path.

The finals of these two events will be shot on Sunday, but the winners get only a decimal advantage for finishing among the top three, which of course may prove crucial in a tight race. The Olympic quota winners have an additional two bonus points, to be added to their three best scores from the four trials.

The results (qualification):

Men: 25m rapid fire pistol: 1. Anish Bhanwala 587; 2. Vijayveer Sidhu 580; 3. Ankur Goel 579; 4. Bhavesh Shekhawat 577; 5. Adarsh Singh 572.

Women: 25m sports pistol: 1. Rhythm Sangwan 586; 2. Simranpreet Kaur Brar 585; 3. Manu Bhaker 585; 4. Esha Singh 579; 5. Abhidnya Patil 575.