Anjali holds centrestage

K. C. VIJAYA KUMAR

ANJALI VEDPATHAK BHAGWAT, along with a clutch of youngsters and Army jawans, held centrestage in the National shooting championship at the J. N. Radhakrishna Memorial complex in the SAI Campus in Bangalore recently. But International shooters Jaspal Rana and Samaresh Jung performed much below the expected level. It came as a surprise as 49-year old Ashok Pandit of Maharashtra clinched gold in the 25m centrefire pistol event pushing Jaspal Rana to silver. Ashok, winner of the event between 1984 and 1991, had remained in the sidelines when Jaspal held sway from 1992.

Anjali Bhagwat won the women's 10m air rifle and 50m rifle three position golds.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

However with Jaspal drawing a blank at the Busan Asian Games, Ashok was waging a battle with a rival low in confidence. It was a story where the champion lost rather than the challenger won, as Jaspal's below par score of 580 (his best is 589) helped Ashok claim gold with 581. Jaspal lost seven points, notching 43 in one of the duelling rounds, and never recovered. "Things got messed up during the Asiad," Jaspal had said earlier and it looked like his form was yet to steer clear of the hurdles imposed by self-doubts. "I guess the thought that he might lose upset him because we all know what he is capable of," conceded Ashok.

Jaspal had something to cheer about as he signed off with the gold in the 25m standard pistol event. Yet, the medal was gained with a score of 570, well below his best of 585. The ONGC employee is perhaps facing the perils of competing against himself and the quicker a rival emerges, the better for India's ace shooter to stretch his frontiers.

There was another notable upset when favourite Samaresh Jung lost his pet event - the 50m pistol - to newcomer Mahavir Singh. "The finals can be funny. Anything can happen and mind you the finals are often meant for the spectators than for us shooters. But Mahavir shot exceptionally well," said Samaresh, who is employed with the CISF in Delhi. His rival Army jawan Mahavir, a regular in the air pistol events, was testing his eyes for the first time in the 50m pistol event and took the gold at 645.7. Ronak Pandit, after beginning the final in eighth spot claimed the bronze with 628. Ronak, however, was in better form in the junior events where he secured five individual golds. If the 17-year-old son of Ashok Pandit can harness his potential, he will indeed be a marked man in international shooting. "I love adversity," he said and if he can handle the burden of expectations, Indian shooting may well have another torch-bearer of hope.

Samaresh, however, won the 10m air pistol while Mahavir settled for bronze after trailing the leader by a solitary point just before the final. Perhaps it was Mahavir's turn to say "finals can be funny at times."

The women's event played true to form and reputation with CISF's Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat giving enough hints on why she still is the best shooter despite Suma Shirur's rousing challenge. In the championship's face-off - the 10m air rifle final - Anjali trailed by three points while Railways' Suma held the number one slot. However, Anjali had the last laugh in the final tally. Anjali fired ahead at 499.6 while Suma stumbled at 499.2. Anjali's words, "the gap between the top women shooters is closing fast," was an apt description of her encounter with Suma. With Anjali, Suma and Deepali Deshpande helping India bag silver in the Asian Games at Busan, the 10m air rifle event was thick with the air of expectation and finally it turned out to be an engrossing shoot-out between Anjali and Suma. Anjali also bagged gold in the 50m rifle three position and walked away with her reputation intact. Sushma Rana (25m sports pistol), Shweta Choudhary (10m air pistol), Deepali Deshpande (50m rifle prone) and U. Sindhu (50m rifle prone junior) were the other shooters who bagged top honours among women. Sushma bettered the National record at 667.5 to erase Sonia Rana's 667 established at Phillaur in 2000. Amidst the youth brigade's charge led by Ronak Pandit, the duo of Sandeep Tarate and Sachin Shelke also showed a lot of promise. Sandeep topped the 10m air rifle senior and junior events while in the civilian category, Sachin topped the above mentioned events. The two 17-year olds' performance was a tribute to a State Government's initiative to unearth talent. They are products of the Maharashtra Government's 'Krida Prabhodhini Sports Academy' scheme and hopefully other State Governments will follow suit. Sandeep, Sachin along with Ronak and U. Sindhu do hold the key to a brighter horizon dawning on Indian shooting, provided they have a firm head while treading past medals and heady appraisals. The Army's lingering presence in the medals tally got an added impetus with Fariduddin sighting gold in the 50m rifle three position final. The 33-year-old who works with the Infantry School at Mhow, had lost last year's final at Indore by firing at the adjacent target. He however made amends here and gave enough reasons for his mates to unfurl the Army flag proudly. The Army celebrations were on in full swing as Ram Kishan claimed gold in the 25m rapid fire event. A. P. Subaiah despite his silvers also added to the Army band's merry tunes. Navy's Satgurdass won the gold while scripting a new National record (698) in the 50m rifle prone event.

The host - the Karnataka State Rifle Association - did a fair job and the shooters were happy with the facilities. However the absence of a press briefing before the event did rankle. Shooting despite the promise of medals is still to climb the popularity charts and keeping the media informed always helps while catching the public eye. The host had its moments to cheer with P. N. Prakash bagging two golds (10m air pistol and 50m pistol) in the civilian category.

Sushma Rana came up with a new record in the 25m sports pistol for women.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

And while the dust settles on yet another National championship, the problems that beset shooting still remain. Shooting is still shackled with import restrictions, which burden the shooters with outdated weapons. "We hope the Government does liberalise at least to a certain extent the import of our weapons," said Rajiv Bhatia, secretary, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI). The shooters, besides venting their ire at weapons that trigger frustration more than bullets also stressed the need for foreign coaches. "The other nations are setting the trend, so why not have their coaches?" said a top shooter. Is the NRAI listening?

The results: Men: National open championship:

25m centre fire pistol: 1. Ashok Pandit (Mah), 581; 2. Jaspal Rana (ONGC), 580; 3. C. K. Chaudhary (Army).

Juniors: 1. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 571 NR, Old: Ronak Pandit, 558, Indore, 2002; 2. Manoj Kumar (Army), 564; 3. Kushal Kumar (Army), 543.

Team: 1. Army 1705 (Mahaveer Singh 573, Ganga Dhar Singh 573, Ved Prakash 559); 2. Maharashtra 1704 (Ashok Pandit 581, Ronak Pandit 571, Amol S. Chauhan 552); 3. Navy 1690 (Atul Yadav 557, Tapas K. Sikdar 569, Satendra Kumar 564).

Junior team: 1. Maharashtra 1616 (Ronak Pandit 571, Arjun Kanungo 512, Rommel Pandit 533); 2. Army 1615 (Manoj Kumar 564, Kushal Kumar 543, Sandeep Singh 508); 3. Indian Airlines 1585 (Zakir Khan 532, Toshinder Singh 516, Sayed Zakir Ali 537).

50m rifle prone: 1. Satgurdass (Navy), 698 NR, Old: A. P. Subbaiah, 697.10, Auckland, 1999; 2. A. P. Subbaiah (Army), 693.8; 3. Ram Kumar (BSF), 691.9.

Deepali Deshpande claimed the honours in the women's 50m rifle prone but had to be content with silver, behind Anjali, in the 50m rifle three position.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Juniors: 1. Mukesh Kumar (Army), 583; 2. Raghvender Singh (Army), 575; 3. Raswinder Singh (Army), 575.

Team: 1. Navy 1763 (Sanjeev Rajput 585, Bishnu Nag 585, Satgurdass 593); 2. Army 1758 (T.C. Palangappa 589, Ashok Kumar Sahi 577, A.P. Subbaiah 592); 3. Railways 1744 (J. Karmarkar 577, Joydeep Banerjee 584, Arun Wareshi 583).

10m air rifle: 1. Sandeep Tarate (Krida Prabhodhini), 693.6; Sunil Kumar (Army), 690.2; 3. Manoj Kumar (Navy), 685.6.

Team: 1. Krida Prabodhini 1752 (Sandeep Tarate 593, Fulchand Bangar 576, Navanath Fartade 583); 2. Navy 1751 (Manoj Kumar 587, Bishnu Nag 584, P. T. Raghunath 580); 3. BSF 1749 (Raj Kumar 583, Akhilesh Rai 582, H. Salim 584).

Juniors: 1. Sandeep Tarate, 593 equalled NR, NR: Abhinav Bindra, 593, Phillaur, 1999; 2. Gagan Narang (IA), 586; 3. Imran Hasan (Army), 585.

Junior team: 1. Krida Prabhodhini 1752 (Sandeep Tarate 593, Fulchand Bangar 576, Navanath Fartade 583); 2. Army 1740 (Kuldip Singh 579, Imran Hasan 585, Rathod Surendra Singh 576); 3. Maharashtra 1727 (Shridhar Khetmar 574, Mangesh Mane 574, Sagar S. Kulkarni 579).

50m pistol: 1. Mahavir Singh (Army), 645.7; 2. Samaresh Jung (CISF), 643; 3. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 628.

Team: 1. Army 1620 (Mahaveer Singh 547, Kamal Singh 536, Ved Prakash 537); 2. CISF 1598 (Samaresh Jung 549, Subash Rana 531, Anubhav Dhillan 518); 3. Navy 1592 (Anil Kumar 515, Tapas K. Sikdar 542, Satendra Kumar 535).

Juniors: 1. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 535; 2. Gurjeet Singh (Army), 520; 3. Toshinder Singh (INDI), 517.

25m standard pistol: 1. Jaspal Rana (ONGC), 570; 2. Dhyan Singh (Army), 557; 3. Ashok Pandit (Mah), 555.

Team: 1. Army 1655 (C.K. Chaudhary 549, Dhyan Singh 557, Ved Prakash 549); 2. Maharashtra 1654 (Ashok Pandit 555, Ronak Pandit 551, Amol S. Chauhan 548); 3. BSF 1632 (V.B. Viji 539, Naresh Kumar 554, Manjunath 539).

Juniors: 1. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 551; 2. Zakir Khan (IA), 537; 3. Rommel Pandit (Mah), 526.

Veteran Ashok Pandit held sway in the men's 25m centrefire pistol, pushing favourite Jaspal Rana to silver.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

25m rapid fire pistol: 1. Ram Kishan (Army), 665; 2. Poonam Kumar (BSF), 661.8; 3. B. L. Dhaka (Army), 660.

Team: 1. Army 1689 (Pemba Tamang 564, B. L. Dhaka 567, Dhyan Singh 558); 2. BSF 1671 (Poonam Kumar 568, Manju Nath 558, Mohinder Singh 545); 3. Maharashtra 1648 (Ashok Pandit 552, Ronak Pandit 560, Raj Khalid 536).

Juniors: 1. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 560; 2. Sandeep Singh (Army), 546; 3. Alok Singh (Indi), 544.

Junior team: 1. Indian Airlines 1612 (Toshinder Singh 524, Sayed Zakir Ali 544, Alok Singh 544); 2. Maharashtra 1580 (Ronak Pandit 560, Rommel Pandit 529, Amol R.Renke 491); 3. Army 1538 (Manoj Kumar 487, Ramesh Dandge 505, Sandeep Singh 546).

50m rifle three position: 1. Fariduddin (Army), 1255; 2. A.P. Subbaiah (Army), 1248.2; 3. Dilip Sawant (Army), 1243.2.

Team: 1. Army 3422 (Charan Singh 1129, T.C. Palangappa 1139, A.P. Subbaiah 1154); 2. BSF 3389 (Iqbal Ahmed 1123, M. Shankar 1128, Raj Kumar 1138); 3. Navy 3385 (Manoj Kumar 1117, Bishnu Nag 1134, P.T. Raghunath 1134).

Juniors: 1. Imran Hasan (Army), 1129; 2. Rathod Surendra Singh (Army), 1124; 3. Sudhir Kumar Singh (Har), 1124.

10m air pistol: 1. Samaresh Jung (CISF), 675.9; 2. Umesh Chandra (ITBP), 672; 3. Mahavir Singh (Army), 670.4.

Team: 1. Army 1704 (Mahaveer Singh 574, Kamal Singh 566, Ved Prakash 564); 2. Maharashtra 1688 (Ronak Pandit563, Amol R. Renke 563, Yogesh Sudke 562); 3. CISF 1679 (Anubhav Dhillon 546, Samaresh Jung 575, Subash Rana 558).

Jaspal Rana had something to cheer about as he clinched the men's 25m standard pistol gold.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Juniors: 1. Gurjeet Singh (Army), 567; 2. Amol R. Renke (Mah), 563; 3. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 563.

Junior team: 1. Maharashtra 1688 (Ronak Pandit 563, Amol R. Renke 563, Yogesh Sudke 562); 2. Army 1672 (Gurjeet Singh 567, Kushal Kumar 558, Avtar Singh 547); 3. Indian Airlines 1658 (Nikhil Singh 549, Zakir Khan 557, Deepak Sharma 552).

25m pistol (juniors): 1. Ronak Pandit (Mah), 580; 2. Manoj Kumar (Army), 566; 3. Kushal Kumar (Army), 559.

25m pistol (junior team): 1. Army 1668 (Kushal Kumar 559, Manoj Kumar 566, Pawan Kholia 543); 2. Indian Airlines 1657 (Zakir Khan 557, Toshinder Singh 558, Sayed Zakir Ali 542); 3. Maharashtra 1637 (Ronak Pandit 580, Rommel Pandit 540, Amol R. Renke 517).

National championship (restricted to civilians):

25m centrefire pistol: 1. Rajiv Sharma (Del), 560; 2. Sumeet H. Sanghavi (TN), 558; 3. Rana Gurbachan Singh (HP), 545.

50m rifle prone: Pankaj Poddar (Rly), 589; 2. Abhijit Majumdar (Rly), 586; 3. C.K. Anand (Kar), 582.

Juniors: 1. Gandharv Chauhan (BSF), 577; 2. U. Sibi (Ker), 574; 3. Shankar Gurung (Inf), 572.

Ronak Pandit was in great form in the junior events where he secured five golds.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Team: 1. Railways 1754 (Abhijit Majumdar 586, Viswajeet Shinde 579, Pankaj Poddar 589); 2. Karnataka 1722 (Pradeep R. Sail 572, C. Purushotham 568, C.K. Anand 582); 3. BSF Kids 1718 (N.A. Thimayya 580, Gandharv Chauhan 577, Naveen Kumar 561).

10m air rifle: 1. Sachin Shelke (Mah), 587 NR, old: Sandeep Tarate, 586, Indore, 2002; 2. Chetan Deshmukh (Rly), 582; 3. Gadmale Yogesh (Mah), 581.

Team: 1. Railways 1735 (Chetan Deshmukh 582, Viswajeet Shinde 580, Arun Wareshi 573); 2. Maharashtra 1734 (Mangesh Mane 574, Gadmale Yogesh 581, Sagar S. Kulkarni 579); 3. Krida Prabodhini 1706 (Manmit Vilas Raut 568, Mahadev Vasant Gaikwad 575, Yuvraj Tukaram Chougale 563).

Juniors: 1. Sachin Shelke (Mah), 587 NR, old: Sandeep Tarate, 586, Indore, 2002; 2. Prakash S. Tayade (Mah), 576; 3. Mahadev Vasant Gaikwad (Krida Prabhodhini), 575.

50m pistol: 1. P.N. Prakash (Kar), 539; 2. N. Shanmugam (TN), 534; 3. Charanjeet Singh Narula (Uttranchal), 513.

Juniors: 1. Amit Kumar (Inf. kids), 536 NR for civilians, Old: Self, 527, Indore, 2002; 2. Bapu Vanjare (Mah), 481; 3. Alok Singh (IA), 453.

25m standard pistol: 1. Sumeet Sanghavi (TN), 545; 2. Ajit Singh Ranhotra (Del), 534; 3. Rajiv Sharma (Del), 534.

Juniors: 1. Vineet Kumar Khosla (Del), 526; 2. Alok Singh (IA), 486; 3. Sree Krishna (Kar), 473.

25m rapid fire pistol: 1. Amol S. Chauhan (Mah), 556; 2. P.N. Prakash (Kar), 537; 3. Sumeet H. Sanghavi (TN), 537.

Juniors: 1. Vineet Kumar (Delhi), 525.

50m rifle three position: 1. Pankaj Poddar (Rly), 1110; 2. Shyamol Das (Rly), 1104; 3. Sandip Kundu (WB), 1095.

Team: 1. Railways 3285 (Shyamol Das 1104, Nilesh Rane 1071, Pankaj Poddar 1110); 2. Kerala 3218 (V. Prabudith 1064, A. Ameer Ali 1061, V. Vipindas 1093); 3. Himachal Pradesh 3217 (Rajesh Parmar 1072, Virender Singh Banshtu 1079, Dhirendra Pawar 1066).

Juniors: 1. U. Sibi (Ker), 1067; 2. Shankar Gurung (Inf), 1040; 3. Th. Rajen Singh (Mani), 975.

10m air pistol: 1. P.N. Prakash (Kar), 572; 2. Sumeet H. Sanghavi (TN), 564; 3. N. Shanmugam (TN), 559.

Team: 1. Karnataka 1660 (G. Sree Krishna 547, P.N. Prakash 572, C. G. Shankar 541); 2. Maharashtra 1657 (Raj Khalid 544, Bapu T. Vanjare 557, Amol S. Chauhan 556); 3. Tamil Nadu 1654 (N. Shanmugam 559, S. Ramesh 531, Sumeet H. Sanghavi 564).

Juniors: 1. Farooq Ali (Inf), 559; 2. Bapu T. Vanjare (Mah), 557; 3. Amit Kumar (Inf), 552.

Junior team: 1. Punjab 1605 (N. S. Bhogal 549, Sewak Singh 527, Jaspal Singh 529); 2. Manipur 1581 (L. Arun Kumar Singh 528, M. Kanta Meetei 521, G. Shyamkanhai Sharma 532); 3. BSF Kids 1568 (Naveen Kumar 501, Udaiveer Singh 519, Yujvendra Singh 548).

25m pistol (juniors): 1. Amit Kumar (Inf), 546; 2. Sree Krishna (Kar), 539; 3. Bhushan Kumar (Inf), 508.

Women: National open championship:

50m rifle prone: 1. Deepali Deshpande (Mah), 590; 2. U. Sindhu (Ker), 588; 3. Birmati (Army), 586.

Team: 1. Army 1737 (Navneet Duggal 567, Lakshmi Priya 584, Birmati 586); 2. Infantry Kids 1736 (Meena Kumari 578, Raj Kumari 580, Sharda Thapa 578); 3. Railways 1732 (Suma Shirur 584, Poornima Gawhane 565, Anuja Tere 583).

Juniors: 1. U. Sindhu (Ker), 588; 2. M. Dhareenee (TN), 585; 3. Raj Kumari (Inf), 580.

10m air rifle: 1. Anjali V. Bhagwat (CISF), 499.6; 2. Suma Shirur (Rly), 499.2; 3. Anuja Tere (Rly), 497.1.

Team: 1. Railways 1183 (Suma Shirur 399, Poornima Gawhane 390, Anuja Tere 394); 2. CISF 1181 (Anjali V. Bhagwat 396, Kuheli Gangulee 392, Leena Shirodkar 393); 3. Maharashtra 1173 (Deepali Deshpande 393, Tejaswini R. Sawant 390, Pramila K. Badlani 390).

Juniors: 1. Raj Kumari (Inf), 392; 2. Sharda Thapa (Inf), 390; 3. Meena Kumari (Inf), 389.

Junior team: 1. Infantry Kids 1171 (Meena Kumari 389, Raj Kumari 392, Sharda Thapa 390); 2. Punjab 1159 (Navdeep K. Dhillon 387, Chetanpreet Nilon 387, Sabeeha Dhillon 385); 3. Chandigarh 1121 (Prabhleen Chauhan 385, Shaleen Chauhan 378, Tamanna 358).

25m pistol: 1. Sushma Rana (CISF), 667.5 NR, old: Sonia Rana, 667, Phillaur' 2000; 2. Saroja Kumari (Army), 665.2; 3.Shweta Choudhary (IA), 661.9.

Team: 1. CISF 1660 (Sushma Rana 571, Sonia Rana 539, Shilpi Singh 550); 2. Army 1624 (Vashali Bhati 508, Baljeet Kaur 549, Saroja Kumari 567); 3. UP 1615 (Kunti Malik 557, Abha Dhillan 548, Neha Sharma 510).

Juniors: 1. Shweta Choudhary (IA), 569; 2. Anurag Singh (IA), 551; 3. Poornima Sharma (UP), 531.

50m rifle three position: 1. Anjali V. Bhagwat (CISF), 672.5; 2. Deepali Deshpande (Mah), 668.1; 2. Kuheli Gangulee (CISF), 667.2.

Team: 1. CISF 1720 (Anjali Bhagwat 579, Kuheli Gangulee 575, Leena Shirodkar 566); 2. Inf. Kids 1699 (Meena Kumari 570, Raj Kumari 572, Sharda Thapa 557); 3. Railways 1690 (Suma Shirur 567, Pournima Gawhane 555, Anuja Tere 568).

Juniors: 1. Raj Kumari (Inf), 572; 2. Meena Kumari (Inf), 570; 3. M. Dhareenee (TN), 565.

10m air pistol: 1. Shweta Choudhary (IA), 477.7; 2. Sarvesh Tomar (Inf), 477.2; 3. Anuraj Singh (IA), 475.7.

Team: 1. Indian Airlines 1127 (Shweta Choudhary 382, Anuraj Singh 382, Seema Tomar 363); 2. CISF 1105 (Sonia Rana 361, Shilpi Singh 373, Sonika Manon 371); 3. Inf. Kids 1091 (Sarvesh Tomar 377, Yogita Rana 358, Pragya Singh 356).

Juniors: 1. Anuraj Singh (IA), 382 Equalled NR, existing: Shweta Choudhary, 382, Helsinki' 2002; 2. Shweta Chaudhary (IA), 382, also equalled existing record; 3. Priyanka S. Karande (Mah), 369.

Junior team: 1. Indian Airlines 1122 (Shweta Choudhary 382, Charu Pragya 358, Anuraj Singh 382); 2. Delhi 1068 (Ankita Chaudhry 357, Kadambari Rana 343, Minerva Singh 368); 3. Maharashtra 1042 (Charulata Somal 353, Aradhana Singh 342, Amruta Kulkarni 347).