India slips yet captures 12 golds

The Indian team of R. S. Rathore and Ronjan Sodhi, which won the double trap gold, on the podium. At left is the second placed Australian pair of Russell Mark and Thomas Turner. England's Sam Wathen and Stevan Walton finished third.-SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

THE leading stars did not strike it as hot as they could have, and some of the youngsters faltered when it mattered, but India was still able to strike it rich in the fifth Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Melbourne as it captured 12 gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals.

THE leading stars did not strike it as hot as they could have, and some of the youngsters faltered when it mattered, but India was still able to strike it rich in the fifth Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Melbourne as it captured 12 gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals.

Olympic silver medallist Lt. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was himself reduced to a silver medal thanks to the exploits of his coach Russell Mark of Australia, who handled the warm and windy conditions pretty well, to shoot 173 out of 200 and beat the Indian ace by five points. Rathore had, however, won the team gold for India with the support of Ronjan Sodhi earlier.

"It was windy. Tough for everyone and all the scores were low. I shot a silver, but it is a good result considering it is early season", said Rathore whose focus would be to get used to his new gun and strike hard in the World Championship in Lonato in May.

For Anjali Bhagwat who had won the individual gold medals in the air rifle and the sport rifle 3-position events the last three times, including the Commonwealth Games, it was a new experience not to have an individual gold.

Anjali shot a customary 398 out of 400 in air rifle, but a below par fare in the final saw her being beaten by a young girl from Singapore.

"I don't know what happened in the final. Maybe, I was not standing in the correct line of my target and I was pulling the rifle to the right. The machines did not function and we had to re-start. I just did not settle down in the final. The Singapore shooter was really good. Her mother was teaching in China and the family had shifted to Singapore. The weather was terrible, and during the 3-position event I was worried about having a `washout'. We were not prepared to face the shivering cold spells in the Australian summer", said Anjali.

Like Rathore, Anjali also did not have any trouble winning the team gold medals, both in the air rifle and the 3-position events.

If that was how the sure shot gold medals slipped from the grasp of the Indian marksmen, who had accounted for 13 gold medals in the last edition of the championship in 2001 in England, and 14 gold medals in the Commonwelath Games in 2002, the young Gagan Narang did very well to assert himself with the air rifle gold.

The Andhra lad who has already made a mark in the World Cups apart from shooting very well in Athens Olympics, won the gold by 4.6 points to assert his class and make everyone forget the absence of the rifle ace Abhinav Bindra.

"When you put in a lot of effort and the result is good, you definitely feel very happy. It might take a while, but the best is yet to come", said Gagan.

Samaresh Jung was quite good in clinching the free pistol gold ahead of the seasoned Michael Gault of England.

He, however, was not able to reach his scores of 583 in air pistol and 559 in freepistol that he had achieved during the team event.

Jaspal Rana, who won the individual centrefire pistol event, also figured in the victorious teams which won the centrefire pistol and standard pistol gold medals.-V. SUDERSHAN

Jaspal Rana was his strong self in winning the centrefire pistol gold. Of course, Jaspal could not recapture his record score of 580 in the standard pistol event that helped the team win the gold, and thus had to be content with a bronze in the individual event.

Pemba Tamang was quite good in winning a double gold medal in rapidfire pistol, and another young lad Vijay Kumar hinted about his potential by winning the individual bronze in the same event after having topped during the badge match.

Shweta Chaudhry, the Haryana girl who had missed the junior bronze medal in air pistol with a 382 in the World Championship in Lahti in 2002, had a stupendous 389 out of 400 during the team event, a national record, but could not hit the same level of performance during the individual event. She will be the one to watch in the season ahead.

Baljeet Sethi, Secretary General, NRAI, receiving the medal winners at the New Delhi airport -- from left Samaresh Jung, R. S. Rathore, Gagan Narang and Shweta Chaudhry.-SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS

Meena Kumari emphasised her growing stature as a dependable shooter as she bagged the silver medal in the 3-position event, when the more seasoned were unable to tackle the conditions and reach a medal.

The trap shooters did bag the team silver behind the formidable Australia that had the outstanding Michael Diamond at service, but they struggled to cope with the windy conditions during the individual event and thus failed to strike a medal.

Arti Singh was spectacular as she topped with a 69 out of 75 in the qualification series when she had rounds of 24, 24 and 21 in women's skeet, but an 18 out of 25 in the final saw her miss a medal by one point and the gold itself eluded her grasp by a mere two points.

National coach Prof. Sunny Thomas was able to appreciate the plight of the Indian shooters in the unusually tough conditions and reiterated his view that they were not machines to shoot high scores all the time. "The indications are good for the season ahead," he said. — A Special Correspondent

The results Men:

Air pistol: 1. Michael Gault (Eng) 681.2 (582); 2. Samaresh Jung 675.6 (578); 3. Daniel Repacholi (Aus) 674.4 (574); 4. Ronak Pandit 673.7 (578); 9. Mohammed Kalamuddin 564. Team: 1. Australia (Daniel Repacholi 582, David Moore 580) 1162; 2. India (Samaresh Jung 583, Mohammed Kalamuddin 561) 1144; 3. England (Michael Gault 569, Iqbal Ubhi 566) 1135.

Centrefire pistol: 1. Jaspal Rana 585; 2. Ashok Pandit 576; 3. David Moore (Aus) 572; 5. Mahavir Singh 570. Team: 1. India (Jaspal Rana 585, Ashok Pandit 569) 1154; 2. Australia (David Moore 569, Bruce Quick 567) 1136; 3. Wales (Stephen Pengelly 565, Alan Green 556) 1121.

Standard pistol: 1. Justin Toohey (Aus) 568; 2. Michael Gault (Eng) 566; 3. Jaspal Rana 564; 7. Vijay Kumar 556; 12. Samaresh Jung 540. Team: 1. India (Jaspal Rana 580, Samaresh Jung 562) 1142; 2. England (Michael Gault 560, Peter Flippant 547) 1107; 3. Australia (David Moore 559, Justin Toohey 547) 1106.

Rapidfire pistol: 1. Pemba Tamang 760.6 (565); 2. Metodi Igorov (Can) 750.6 (559); 3. Vijay Kumar 748.3 (564); 4. Ramkishan Yadav 746.1 (556). Team: 1. India (Pemba Tamang 565, Ramkishan Yadav 558) 1123; 2. Australia (Lucan Finken 551, Bruce Quick 549) 1100; 3. Canada (Metodi Igorov 547, Staley Wills 533) 1080.

Free pistol: 1. Samaresh Jung 653.3 (557); 2. Michael Gault (Eng) 650.1 (558); 3. Daniel Repacholi (Aus) 646.7 (552); 6. Umesh Chandra 635.4 (537); 9. Mahavir Singh 531. Team: 1. Australia (Stephen Deller 550, David Moore 547) 1097; 2. England (Michael Gault 554, Russell Young 528) 1082; 3. India (Samaresh Jung 559, Mahavir Singh 506) 1065.

Air rifle: 1. Gagan Narang 699.7 (597); 2. Jung Hong Ong (Sin) 695.1 (593); 3. Chris Hector (Eng) 693.4 (592); 5. Manoj Kumar 692.5 (592); 6. Sanjeev Rajput 688.8 (589). Team: 1. India (Gagan Narang 592, Manoj Kumar 591) 1183; 2. Singapore (Ze Jian Kenneth Tan 587, Jung Hong Ong 580) 1167; 3. Australia (Matthew Robert Inabinet 581, Benjamin Burge 580) 1161.

50m rifle prone: 1. Dennis Taylor (Nzl) 689.4 (587); 2. Alan Lewis (Nir) 687.9 (588); 3. Ryan Taylor (Nzl) 686.4 (585); 5. Surendra Singh Rathod 684.3 (585); 14. Sushil Ghalay 577; 17. Sanjeev Rajput 576. Team: 1. New Zealand (Ryan Taylor 590, Dennis Taylor 588) 1178; 2. Scotland (Neil Stirton 589, Martin Sinclair 586) 1175 (197); 3. India (Surendra Singh Rathod 589, Sushil Ghalay 586) 1175 (195).

50m rifle 3-position: 1. Dayle Slinn (Nzl) 1242.7 (1145); 2. Michael Brown (Aus) 1237.9 (1145); 3. Sushil Ghalay 1237.3 (1149); 7. Vivek Vasudevan 1224.9 (1131); 9. Sanjeev Rajput 1127. Team: 1. India (Sushil Ghalay 1147, Sanjeev Rajput 1132) 2279; 2. Australia (Matthew Robert Inabinet 1133, Michael Brown 1129) 2262; 3. Wales (John Croydon 1134, Martyn Blake 1122) 2256.

Trap: 1. Michael Diamond (Aus) (124, 23) 147; 2. David Beattie (Nir) (117, 18) 135; 3. Mike Wixey (Wal) (117, 16) 133; 6. Mansher Singh (115, 15) 130; 9. Manavjit Singh Sandhu 112; 15. Zoravar Singh Sandhu 109. Team: 1. Australia (Michael Diamond 98, Thomas Turner 95) 193; 2. Idia (Manavjit Singh Sandhu 97, Zoravar Singh Sandhu 95) 192; 3. Northern Ireland (David Beattie 94, Mervyn Morrison 92) 186.

Double trap: 1. Russell Mark (Aus) (134, 39) 173; 2. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (130, 38) 168 (10); 3. Nathan Cassells (Aus) (130, 38) 168 (9); 14. Moraad Ali Khan 112; 16. Ronjan Sodhi 111. Team: 1. India (Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 93, Ronjan Sodhi 80) 173; 2. Australia (Russell Mark 90, Thomas Turner 79) 169; 3. England (Sam Wathen 84, Stevan Walton 82) 166.

Skeet: 1. Clive Barton (Aus) (121, 25) 146; 2. Richard McBride (Can) (119, 25) 144 (2); 3. Andrew Austen (Eng) (120, 24) 144 (1); 16. Amit Sanghi 111; 17. Amardeep Singh Rai 110; 3. Baba P. S. Bedi 109. Team: 1. Australia (David Cunningham 95, Goran Rahman 93) 188; 2. Scotland (Michael Thomson 95, Ian Marsden 92) 187; 3. Canada (Richard McBride 95, Jason Caswell 91) 186; 6. India (Amit Sanghi 92, Amardeep Singh Rai 87) 179.

Women:

Air pistol: 1. Lalita Yauhleuskaya (Aus) 488.0 (389); 2. Pam McKenzie (Aus) 487.5 (384); 3. Harveen S. Rao 472.5 (372); 7. Shweta Chaudhry 467.5 (373); 8. Sarvesh Tomar 466.5 (370). Team: 1. Australia (Lalita Yauhleuskaya 384, Pam McKenzie 380) 764; 2. India (Shweta Chaudhry 389, Sarvesh Tomar 374) 763; 3. Malaysia (Biiana Ng Pei Pei 373, Joseline Cheah Lee Yean 373) 746.

Sport pistol: 1. Lalita Yauhleuskaya (Aus) 787.1 (587); 2. Jocelyn Lees (Nzl) 774.4 (573); 3. Bibiana Ng Pei Pei (Mas) 771.8 (573); 4. Sushma Rana 770.5 (576); 5. Saroja Kumari 770.2 (575); 15. Shweta Chaudhry 549. Team: 1. Australia (Lalita Yauhleuskaya 582, Pam McKenzie 580) 1162; 2. India (Sushma Rana 570, Shweta Chaudhry 468) 1138; 3. Malaysia (Pei Chin Bibian Ng 574, Joseline Cheah Lee Yean 553) 1127.

Air rifle: 1. Jingna Zhang (Sin) 500.1 (396); 2. Anjali Bhagwat 498.7 (398); 3. Susan McCready (Aus) 492.6 (391); 5. Pournima Gawhane 491.2 (390); 11. Deepali Deshpande 386. Team: 1. India (Anjali Bhagwat 394, Pournima Gawhane 391) 785; 2. Singapore (Jingna Zhang 395, Yu Chen Vanessa Yong 383) 778; 3. England (Rebecca Spicer 394, Leah Sevina Brough 383) 777.

Sport rifle prone: 1. Juliet Etherington (Nzl) 585; 2.Helen Spittles (Eng) 582; 3. Louise Aiken (Nir) 582; 8. Meena Kumari 576; 12. Deepali Deshpande 575; 17. U. Sindhu 571. Team: 1. Wales (Johanne Brekke 586, Ceri Dallimore 585) 1171; 2. India (Meena Kumari 587, Deepali Deshpande 579) 1166; 3. New Zealand (Juliet Etherington 584, Kathryn Mead 580) 1164.

Sport rifle 3-position: 1. Rebecca Spicer (Eng) 669.3 (575); 2. Meena Kumari 661.5 (568); 3. Sabrina Sultana (Ban) 656.2 (556); 14. Anjali Bhagwat 552; 17. Kuheli Gangulee 551. Team: 1. India (Anjali Bhagwat 570, Kuheli Gangulee 564) 1134; 2. Malaysia (Nurul Hudda Baharin 564, Dalilah Abu Bakar 561) 1125; 3. Australia (Susan McCready 563, Susannah Smith 559) 1122.

Trap: 1. Stacey Roiall (Aus) (62, 17) 79; 2. Diane Reeves (Aus) (61, 17) 78; 3. Nadine Stanton (Nzl) (61, 15) 76; 12. Shagun Chowdhary 54; 16. Zoya Mehta 44. Team: 1. England (Anita North 46, Lesley Goddard 45) 91; 2. New Zealand (Nadine Stanton 43, Zelda McClure 41) 84; 3. Australia (Suzanne Balogh 39, Stacey Roiall 39) 78; 4. India (Shagun Chowdhary 37, Zoya Mehta 27) 64.

Double trap: 1. Charlotte Kerwood (Eng) (94, 33) 127; 2. Gaye Shale (Aus) (88, 21) 109; 3. Nadine Stanton (Nzl) (89, 19) 108; 5. Shagun Chowdhary (78, 21) 99. Team: 1. New Zealand (Nadine Stanton 65, Zelda McClure 49) 114; 2. Australia (Suzanne Balogh 60, Tania Burke 49) 109.

Skeet: 1. Lauryn Mark (Aus) (67, 22) 89; 2. Natalia Rahman (Aus) (69, 19) 88 (3); 3. Elena Little (Eng) (66, 22) 88 (2); 4. Arti Singh (69, 18) 87. Team: 1. Australia (Lauryn Mark 45, Natalia Rahman 45) 90; 2. England (Pinky Le-Grelle 43, Elena Little 43) 86.