ISSF abandons gold medal match between top two shooters

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The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) has returned to the previous structure after eliminating an additional stage in the finals that pitted the two highest scores for the gold medal in World Cups and other high-profile competitions like the Olympics.

After the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the ISSF added a second stage to the finals to determine the champion in pistol and rifle shooting. The best scorer now receives the gold medal, returning to the previous knockout format. 

Now, the top two will not contend for the gold medal individually. In order to make the sport more spectator-friendly, a new scoring system was implemented for the finals following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Now, instead of using the earlier, streamlined elimination system, where the shooter who scored 16 points first was declared the winner and the shooter with the second-best score received the silver medal, the two shooters with the highest scores had to compete once more for the gold medal. 

Up to the just finished ISSF Pistol/Rifle World Cup in Bhopal, this method was in place. The qualification round, in which the top eight shooters advance to the finals, has not been altered by the ISSF.

By altering the finals' structure, the ISSF has not only made the scoring system simpler but also made it simpler for viewers to follow along. 

The finals will have two sets of five match shots each for all eight finalists, according to the most recent format. The shooter with the lowest score among the eight finalists will be removed after the 12th shot, and the process will continue every two shots until the medalists are determined. This will be followed by 14 single-match shots. The winner of the final will be determined when a total of 24 shots are fired. 

Deepak Dubey, the rifle coach and high-performance manager for India, stated that the pistol and rifle team has been informed of the new regulations and would practise for the World Cup in Baku with them in mind. 

"These new (rule) changes are not technical in nature, so shooters are not required to make any major changes to their techniques. Only a few changes here and there will be required in timing, which can be done easily and we will be working on them during national camp in Delhi later this month," said Dubey, currently in Bhopal for the national trials. 

"I'm sure we will be quite familiar with the new format ahead of the Baku World Cup. We will be implementing the new format completely in the next set of national trials," he added. 

"The only change I saw (in the ISSF rule book) was that the addition round to decide the gold medal winner has been done away with, where the two top shooters remaining in the competition had to again duel it out for gold, with the first to reach 16 points being crowned champion. Rest everything is the same," said Dubey.

(With PTI inputs)

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