Sanjeev Rajput proves to be the new find

IN a crowded air rifle field, navy shooter Sanjeev Rajput hit the bullseye, literally.

KIRTI PATIL

Sanjeev Rajput struck gold twice with two different weapons. He won the 50m Free Rifle three-position and the 10m Air Rifle Champion of Champions events. — Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

IN a crowded air rifle field, navy shooter Sanjeev Rajput hit the bullseye, literally. Rajput produced an unforgettable performance with two different weapons, thereby knocking on the doors of the selectors.

If Rajput was the find in rifle shooting, Shweta Choudhry crowned herself as the pistol queen, demolishing class opposition with her focus and finesse. And, then it was pistol shooter Samresh Jung's three gold medals and Gagan Narang's world class 105.7 that stole the show at the 48th National shooting championships held at the Reoti Ranges near Indore.

Ten-metre Air Rifle winner Gagan Narang's score of 105.7 is one of the best to be achieved in the final. — Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

These performances seemingly paled the exploits of the marksmen from the Army Shooting Team (AST) as they were left to ponder what hit them despite collecting the biggest booty, both in terms of gold and total medals.

The Mhow-based AST collected medals in a plenty but the performance of Rajput, Shweta, Jung and the fantastic final score by Olympian Gagan Narang, in the 10m Air rifle event, undoubtedly clouded their success. Narang's 105.7 added flavour to the fine blend of shooting though records generally remained at large.

Such good scores came despite the absence of two class shooters, Anjali Bhagwat and Abhinav Bindra, both preferring to take rest after four years of gruelling competitions and practice leading to the Olympics.

What Narang achieved was something phenomenal. Unfortunately in shooting sport, his feat may not get any mention, as there is no classification to record the scores achieved only in the finals.

"Three 10.9s and one 10.8 for a total of 105.7 is something out of the world,'' was an impromptu comment by National coach Prof. Sunny Thomas. "This is the best score in the final I have ever seen anywhere in the world. As far as my memory goes, no shooter has logged such a high score,'' he added.

Samresh Jung stole the show by bagging three individual gold medals -- the 25m Standard pistol, 50m Free pistol and 10m Air pistol events. -- Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

Narang will surely rue his ordinary 592 in the classification match, which made his task harder in the final. That he came up with the splendid final score could well be because of the zest following his bad qualification round.

The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) does not classify the scores of the final in its records. Thailand's Tevarit Majchacheeap holds the 10m Air rifle World record, a perfect 600 shot at the Asian shooting championship in Langkawi in January 2000. And, as for the final World record, U.S.'s Jason Parker has shot the maximum aggregate, a 702.5 (599, 103.5), at the World Cup in Munich in June 2003. As such, Narang's 105.7 seems to be one of the best achieved in the final, but will need ratification by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and the ISSF.

"It doesn't matter whether I shot the world's best final score, but it gives me immense satisfaction that I could keep focus despite a low scoring round in the qualification match,'' says the Indian Airlines-sponsored Narang.

But for such high score in the final by Narang, it was Sanjeev Rajput who exercised the control in the final. Rajput had a best round, a 595, and eventually lost the gold by mere 0.6 points.

But Rajput returned with a vengeance on the final day of the competition and struck gold twice, and that too with two different weapons. Logging 1147 in the qualification round, Rajput went on to add 99.9 in the final of the 50m Free rifle three-position event to win gold by some distance.

Mohammed Kalamuddin of Army being chaired by his team-mates after he won the 10m Air Pistol Champion of champions title. -- Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

Then he turned his attention on the10m range and deservedly claimed the `Champion of champions' title beating Olympic finalist Suma Shirur in the three-shot sudden death.

"The gold medal just slipped away from my hands in the 10m Air rifle final but I noted down the mistakes I did then and adjusted nicely in the `Champion of champions' event,'' was how Rajput described his resurgence.

The Navy shooter collected two golds and a silver in the individual category and also led his team to a gold (air rifle), silver (free rifle three-position) and bronze (rifle prone) medals.

With Nationals forming the first event to earn points to get berth in the national squad for 2005, Rajput's performance in Indore (though he broke no records) should interest the selectors.

In the pistol arena, Shweta Choudhry and Samresh Jung were dominant. Shweta won both the women's pistol events, the 25m Sports pistol and 10m Air pistol, beating more experienced and international shooters with good scores.

Shweta set a new final National record in the 10m Air pistol event, aggregating 480.7 after having posted a record-equalling 382 in the qualification match. That bettered the old record of 477.90 held by Anisa Sayeed.

Shweta Choudhry crowned herself as the pistol queen demolishing some fine opposition. -- Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

If Shilpi Singh was relegated to silver position in air pistol, it was the turn of Sushama Rana to concede to the guiles of Shweta in the 25m Sports pistol event. Shweta's success was more significant as she defeated an in-form Sushama, one of two Indian shooters, Anjali being the other, to have qualified for the World Cup finals in Bangkok.

On the men's side, Samresh Jung effectively took over from Jaspal Rana as the pistol ace. Rana was a shadow of his past as Jung and the army shooters summarily outclassed him. Such was the defeat that Rana skipped his pet centre-fire pistol event and left for home.

Jung won the 10m Air pistol, 50m Free pistol and 25m Standard pistol events while army shooters, Ram Kishan (Rapid fire) and C. K. Choudhary (centre-fire), cornered the other two pistol medals.

Even so, AST's performance fails to impress. Though Army won seven individual and nine team gold medals through both small bore and big bore weapons, the key medals were trapped either by the shooters from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) or Indian Airlines.

Spurred by the Olympic silver medal won by Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in Athens, AST lunged forward with an impressive tally, but quantity could not pale the quality.

The results

Olympian Suma Shirur (left) had to be content with silver in the women's 10m Air rifle event as Pournima Zanane (centre) took the gold. Prajakta W. Lalsare bagged the bronze. — Pic. R. V. MOORTHY-

Men:

50m Free rifle three-position: 1. Sanjeev Rajput (Navy) (1147, 9.7, 10.5, 9.0, 9.9, 9.5, 10.5, 9.7, 10.1, 10.3, 10.7) 1246.9, 2. Imran Hasan Khan (Army) (1148, 9.3, 10.3, 8.8, 9.1, 9.5, 9.1, 9.7, 9.4, 9.2, 9.1) 1241.5, 3. Sushil Ghaley (Army) (1152, 9.2, 7.5, 6.4, 9.8, 10.4, 8.1, 9.8, 9.6, 8.9, 8.5) 1240.2.

Team: 1. Army (Surendra Singh Rathod, Sushil Ghaley, Imran Hasan Khan) 3425, 2. Navy (Sanjeev Rajput, Bishnu Nag, Deepak K. Dubey) 3393 (281, 287), 3. Border Security Force (M. Shankar, Raj Kumar, Vishnu Saste) 3393 (281, 277).

Junior men: 1. Prashant Tomar (Army) 1144, 2. Kiran Bhosle (Army) 1131, 3. Satyendra Singh (Army) 1125.

50m Free rifle prone: 1. M. Shankar (BSF) (594, 10.3, 10.5, 10.5, 10.1, 10.8, 10.5, 10.9, 10.1, 10.2, 9.8) 697.7, 2. Sushil Ghaley (Army) (594, 10.0, 10.3, 10.5, 10.6, 10.8, 9.7, 10.7, 9.8, 10.7, 10.2) 697.0, 3. Rajesh Kumar (Army) (592, 9.5, 10.8, 10.6, 10.6, 9.3, 10.4, 10.4, 10.5, 10.0, 10.5) 694.6.

Team: 1. Army (Surendra Singh Rathod, Babi Ram Thapa, Sushil Ghaley) 1774, 2. BSF (M. T. Sutar, M. Shankar, Shamsher Singh) 1772, 3. Navy (Sanjeev Rajput, Satgurdass, Deepak K. Dubey) 1763.

Junior men: 1. Hariom Singh (Army) 581, 2. Satyendra Singh (Army) 580, 3. Raghvender Singh (Army) 576.

10m Air rifle: 1. Gagan Narang (IA) (592, 10.8, 10.5, 9.8, 10.9, 10.3, 10.9, 10.6, 10.7, 10.9, 10.3) 697.7, 2. Sanjeev Rajput (Navy) (595, 10.1, 10.5, 10.3, 9.2, 9.7, 10.5, 10.6, 10.5, 10.4, 10.3) 697.1, 3. Manoj Kumar (Navy) (594, 10.9, 9.8, 9.9, 10.5, 10.3, 10.4, 10.7, 9.8, 10.0, 9.2) 695.5.

Team: 1. Navy (Sanjeev Rajput, Manoj Kumar, P. T. Raghunath) 1775, 2. Border Security Force (Raj Kumar, Akhilesh Rai, H. Salim) 1764, 3. Army (Anil Prusty, Sudhir Paul, Imran Hasan Khan) 1755.

Junior men: 1. Sandeep J. Tarate (Mah) 591, 2. Jogeshwar Singh Ghuman (Pun) 590, 3. Sultan Singh Chhina (Pun) 584.

Team: 1. Punjab (Jogeshwar Singh Ghumman, Ashreet Singh Dhaliwal, Sultan Singh Chinna) 1752, 2. Maharashtra (Navanath B. Faratade, Fulchand R. Bangar, Sandeep J. Tarate) 1740, 3. Army (Kiran Bhosle, Anil Prusty, Mangesh Vitthal Mane) 1726.

25m Rapid-fire pistol: 1. Ram Kishan (Army) (574, 9.4, 8.6, 10.3, 9.7, 7.5, 9.8, 9.2, 9.7, 10.1, 9.6) 667.9, 2. Pemba Tamang (Army) (566, 10.7, 9.5, 8.0, 9.7, 9.7, 10.5, 9.2, 9.1, 10.0, 8.6) 661.0, 3. Ronak Pandit (Mah) (560, 9.2, 9.4, 10.3, 9.5, 10.3, 10.8, 8.7, 10.0, 9.2, 10.2) 657.6 (46.7). Team: 1. Army (Sandeep Singh, Pemba Tamang, Ram Kishan) 1686, 2. Navy (Harpreet Singh Lokpal Singh, Mukesh Kumar) 1654, 3. Maharashtra (Ashok Pandit, Ronak Pandit, Raj Khalid) 1653.

Junior men: 1. Ronak Pandit (Mah) 560 (133), 2. Manoj Kumar (Army) 560 (125), 3. Vijay Kumar (Army) 559.

25m Centre fire pistol: 1. C. K. Choudhary (Army) (289, 288) 577, 2. Naresh Kumar (BSF) (291, 285) 576, 3. Mahavir Singh (Army) (288, 287) 575 (144). Team: 1. Army (Kushal Kumar, C. K. Choudhary, Mahavir Singh) 1721, 2. BSF (Naresh Kumar, Poonam Kumar, Manju Nath) 1718, 3. Maharashtra (Ashok Pandit, Ronak Pandit, Amol S. Chauhan) 1709.

Junior men: 1. Manoj Kumar (Army) (286, 282) 568 (141, 46), 2. Ronak Pandit (Mah) (293, 275) 568 (141, 41), 3. Kanchan Gurung (Army) (285, 279) 564.

25m Sports pistol: Junior men: 1. Vijay Kumar (Army) 575, 2. Ronak Pandit (Mah) 574, Rahul Panwar (Navy) 568.

Team: 1. Army (Vijay Kumar, Kanchan Gurung, Manoj Kumar) 1696, 2. Navy (Sourabh Dhanda, Omkar Singh, Rahul Panwar) 1689, 3. Indian Airlines (Nikhil Singh, Syed Zakir Ali, Zakir Khan) 1667.

25m Standard pistol: 1. Samresh Jung (CISF) 577, 2. C. K. Chaudhary (Army) 563 (137), 3. Vijay Kumar (Army) 563 (133). Team: 1. Maharashtra (Ashok Pandit, Ronak Pandit, Amol S. Chouhan) 1663, 2. Navy (Harpreet Singh, Atul Yadav, Satendra Kumar) 1659 (273, 267), 3. Army (Subhash Chandra, C. K. Chaudhary, Pemba Tamang) 1659 (273, 263).

Junior men: 1. Vijay Kumar (Army) 563, 2. Brigu Dutt (Del) 552, 3. Ronak Pandit (Mah) 551.

50m Free pistol: 1. Samresh Jung (CISF) (549, 10.7, 10.3, 9.2, 7.9, 9.2, 10.6, 8.8, 9.8, 9.9, 10.3) 645.7, 2. Umesh Chandra (ITBP) (546, 8.2, 10.4, 7.8, 9.4, 9.4, 9.9, 10.1, 9.7, 10.2, 9.7) 640.8, 3. Viraj Singh (ITBP) (541, 10.2, 9.4, 9.5, 10.3, 10.0, 9.7, 9.8, 7.8, 10.1, 10.0) 637.8. Team: 1. Navy (Anil Kumar, Sikdar, Satendra Kumar) 1619, 2. Maharashtra (Ashok Pandit, Ronak Pandit, Kaikhusru M. Irani) 1606, 3. Indian Airlines (Vivek Singh, Toshinder Singh, Deepak Sharma) 1598.

Junior men: 1. Zakir Khan (IA) 543, 2. Bhrigu Dutt (Del) 541, 3. Ronak Pandit (Mah) 540.

10m Air pistol: 1. Samresh Jung (CISF) (578, 10.2, 9.5, 10.3, 10.5, 10.9, 10.5, 9.4, 10.0, 10.4, 9.9) 679.6, 2. Umesh Chandra (ITBP) (579, 10.6, 9.3, 10.2, 9.5, 9.7, 9.2, 8.5, 9.2, 9.8, 9.9) 674.9, 3. Ronak Pandit (Mah) (574, 9.7, 10.1, 9.8, 9.5, 9.7, 10.3, 10.1, 9.9, 10.3, 10.1) 673.5. Team: 1. Army (Mohammed Kalamuddin, Mahavir Singh, Gurpal Singh) 1711, 2. Indian Airlines (Vivek Singh, Deepak Sharma, Zakir Khan) 1706, 3. Delhi (Mahesh Rana, Sahil Kaushik, Bhrigu Dutt) 1694.

Junior team: 1. Army (Bapu Vanjare, Satya Narayan, Gurjeet Singh) 1682, 2. Infantry Kids (Rohit Yadav, Amit Kumar Pilaniya, Farooq Ali) 1682, 3. Indian Airlines (Nikhil Singh, Syed Zakir Ali, Zakir Khan) 1681.

300m Free rifle three-position: 1. Sukhdev Singh (Army) 1111, 2. Fateh Singh (Army) 1091, 3. Rajender Singh (Army) 1074. Team: 1. Army (Fateh Singh, Sukhdev Singh, G. S. Dhillon) 3218, 2. Border Security Force (M. B. Sawant, Puran Singh, Naresh Kumar) 2442, 3. Punjab (Keshav Kumar, Daraspreet Singh, Sewak Singh) 2281.

300m Free rifle prone: 1. Fateh Singh (Army) 580, 2. Sukhdev Singh (Army) 574, 3. Saleem A. (Army) 573. Team: 1. Army (Fateh Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Ratan Singh) 1725, 2. Andhra Pradesh (Amit Sanghi, Ahmed Abdul Haq Khan, Mohammed Nizamuddin) 1396, 3. Border Security Force (H. B. Sawant, Puran Singh, Govind Ram) 1364.

300m Standard rifle three-position: 1. Fateh Singh (Army) 547, 2. Sukhdev Singh (Army) 540, 3. Tej Mal (Army) 525. Team: 1. Army (Fateh Singh, C. R. Das, Sukhdev Singh) 1584, 2. Himachal Pradesh (C. H. Shah, Rajesh Parmar, Dhirendra Singh Pawar) 1232, 3. Punjab (Narinder Kumar, Keshav Kumar, Avtar Singh) 1041.

Women:

50m Sports rifle three-position: 1. Anuja S. Jung (Rlys) (574, 9.5, 9.1, 8.8, 9.4, 10.7, 10.5, 9.1, 9.9, 9.1, 10.1) 670.2, 2. Kuheli Gangulee (CISF) (574, 9.7, 10.8, 10.0, 10.1, 8.5, 9.4, 8.8, 9.2, 8.5, 8.4) 667.2, 3. Deepali Deshpande (Rlys) (572, 9.5, 10.5, 8.4, 8.9, 9.9, 9.1, 10.1, 10.2, 9.0, 8.8) 666.4.

Junior women: 1. Sindhu U. (Ker) 568, 2. Pooja Reddy (AP) 561, 3. Sharda Thapa (INF) 557.

50m Sports rifle prone: 1. Meena Kumari (Army) (97, 98, 100, 99, 98, 100) 592, 2. Raj Kumari (Army) (96, 97, 99, 100, 97, 100) 589, 3. Sindhu U. (Ker) (99, 99, 98, 98, 97, 98) 589. Team: 1. Army (Raj Kumari, Meena Kumari, D. V. S. Lakshmi Priya) 1765, 2. Railways (Anuja S. Jung, Suma Shirur, Deepali Deshpande) 1749, 3. Manipur (N. Indrasini, S. Sobita Devi, T. Aruna Devi) 1710.

Junior women: 1. Sindhu U. (Ker) 589 NR (old 588), 2. N. Saini Devi (Man) 586, 3. Pooja Reddy (AP) 575.

10m Air rifle: 1. Pournima Zanane (Rlys) (396, 10.8, 10.3, 9.8, 10.8, 10.3, 10.8, 10.5, 10.2, 10.5, 10.4) 500.4, 2. Suma Shirur (Rlys) (394, 9.9, 10.9, 10.1, 10.0, 10.8, 10.4, 10.9, 9.5, 10.9, 10.7) 498.1, 3. Prajakta W. Lalsare (Mah) (393, 10.3, 9.7, 9.9, 9.9, 10.8, 10.4, 10.1, 10.7, 10.9, 10.5) 496.2. Team: 1. Railways (Pournima Zanane, Suma Shirur, Deepali Deshpande) 1181, 2. Maharashtra (Prajakta W. Lalsare, Asha R. Jadhav, Tejaswini R. Sawant) 1174, 3. Punjab (Ramandeep Kaur, Sabeeha Dhillon, Chetanpreet Nilon) 1152.

Junior women: 1. Atmika Jagdhari (Raj) 391, 2. Pooja Reddy (AP) 391, 3. Radhika S. Barale (Mah) 389. Team: 1. Maharashtra (Radhika S. Barale, Dhanshree V. Kadam, Soudamini S. Gavankar) 1154, 2. Rajasthan (Madhumita Das, Atmika Jagdhari, Shweta Kumawat) 1145, 3. Punjab (Sumanpreet Sran, Reshu Tomar, Chetanpreet Nilon) 1133.

25m Sports pistol: 1. Shweta Choudhry (IA) (577, 10.7, 10.6, 10.6, 10.5, 8.9, 10.4, 10.2, 10.2, 10.1, 9.2) 678.4, 2. Sushma Rana (CISF) (571, 10.4, 10.3, 9.7, 9.3, 6.4, 10.7, 9.5, 9.2, 9.1, 8.4) 664, 3. Saroja Kumari (Army) (564, 10.2, 10.0, 9.5, 9.0, 8.9, 10.3, 9.6, 9.5, 9.1, 8.9) 659. Team: 1. Indian Airlines (Sonal Ramendra, Anu Raj Singh, Shweta Choudhry) 1667, 2. Uttar Pradesh (Abha Dhillon, Anubha Dhillon, Kunti Malik) 1621, 3. Infantry Kids (Pragya Rathore, Sarves Tomar, Bharati Singh) 1593.

Junior women: 1. Shweta Choudhry (IA) 577, 2. Anu Raj Singh (IA) 551, 3. Ankita Chaudhry (Del) 541.

10m Air pistol: 1. Shweta Choudhry (IA) (382, 9.3, 10.2, 10.7, 10.7, 9.5, 9.9, 9.4, 9.6, 9.4, 10.0) 480.7 NR (old 477.90), 2. Shilpi Singh (CISF) (378, 10.4, 9.2, 9.7, 10.6, 10.2, 9.8, 9.4, 10.6, 8.3, 7.6) 473.8, 3. Sarves Tomar (INF) (376, 10.3, 10.4, 9.6, 10.2, 9.5, 10.1, 9.6, 10.1, 7.0, 10.3) 473.1. Team: 1. Indian Airlines (Neha Sharma, Anu Raj Singh, Shweta Choudhry) 1117, 2. Infantry Kids (Pragya Rathore, Sarves Tomar, Bharati Singh) 1094, 3. Maharashtra (Sheila Kanungo, Harvinder Kaur Waraich, Priyanka S. Karande) 1091.

Junior women: 1. Shweta Choudhry (IA) 382, 2. Minerva Singh (Chd) 374, 3. Harveen Sarao (Chd) 373. Team: 1. Indian Airlines (Neha Sharma, Anu Raj Singh, Shweta Choudhry) 1117, 2. Delhi (Suvidha Kitchloo, Nausheen Fatima, Ankita Choudhry) 1082, 3. Chandigarh (Harveen Sarao, Minerva Singh, Natasha Singh) 1080.

300m Standard rifle prone: 1. Suchitra Devi (Army) 561, 2. Veerpal Kaur (Pun) 552, 3. Murgeshwari (INF) 551.

300m Standard rifle three-position: 1. Navdeep Kaur Dhillon (IA) 514, 2. Manisha (INF) 504, 3. Murgeshwari (INF) 492.

Champion of champions:

10m Air rifle: 1. Sanjeev Rajput (Navy) 104.5 (31.8), 2. Suma Shirur (Rlys) 102.1 (29.9), 3. Pournima Zanane (Rlys) 101.0.

10m Air pistol: 1. Mohammed Kalamuddin (Army) 103.2 (29.1), 2. P. N. Prakash (Kar) 101.5 (27.2), 3. Samresh Jung (CISF) 101.2.