Young guns boom

A. JOSEPH ANTONY

Saudamunee Gavankar... a feat to remember-P.V.SIVAKUMAR

IT wasn't exactly a take-over by the new order, but the restless energy of rising young talent in the National shooting championships, held at the picturesque Hyderabad Central University (HCU) campus in the first fortnight of December, was hard to restrain.

Take for instance the women's 10-metre air rifle. Springing a surprise on Olympians Anjali Bhagwat, Suma Shirur and Anuja Jung was Soudaminee Gavankar. The radiantly smiling 17-year-old showed no trace of being overawed by the top guns of Indian shooting. "I was nervous in the preliminaries," said the first year B. A. student of Ruia College, Mumbai, who trains at home mostly.

Bhagwat, back from a sabbatical, said the increased heart-beat rate had hampered her trigger pull and thereby her shooting. True sport that she is, Anjali was first to congratulate Soudaminee, both having a common coach in Sanjay Chakravarthy, back home in Mumbai.

Joydeep Karmakar came out of the blue to overshadow Abhinav Bindra in the 50-metre prone rifle contest. The mild-mannered Kolkata crackshot, who had topped the qualifying rounds, carried his form into his first-ever final. "I was nervous, no doubt," he said later, indicated by a string of nine point-odd scores that had him on tenterhooks in a rocky final.

Often the last to fire, the 45 sec. deadline placed him under pressure. "There is no scope in the final to take a break or interval," he said. Joydeep Karmakar's triumph is remarkable, since he got to train with just about 250 to 300 rounds of ammunition in the run-up to this National. His rivals, many of them from the armed forces, had the luxury of practising with as many as 6000! A delay in arrival of ammunition had him in a bind.

Joydeep set off in the sport in 1989 but made a mark in 1995, winning the G. V. Mavlankar junior gold in the 50-metre rifle. Until then he had been training with a 45-year-old ladies rifle. (He now trains with an Anschutz rifle). A ticket collector with South Eastern Railway, Joydeep's day was made when his interior designer wife Debjani called minutes after his maiden triumph.

A five point lead from the preliminaries buoyed Harveen Srao to the women's and junior women's 10 metre air pistol gold. The first year B. A. student of Guru Gobind Singh College, Chandigarh, was under match pressure in the finals, peeking through the Iris. Firing with a trembling hand, the bespectacled shooter slipped to nine-odd scores, seven out of 10 times. Nonetheless, from bronze medallist last year, Harveen, who practices at home, enjoys soothing music and mystery novels, clinched the gold, warding off Shweta Chaudhary's challenge by 2.4 points.

For sportsmen who whine of pressure, Olympic silver-medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had the antidote. "The pressure is always there. Over the years, I am attuned to cutting myself off from the conditions, surroundings, negative thoughts and focus only on the positive," he said of his evolution in the sport. "The adulation of my countrymen is inspiring," he said in acknowledgement of a large turnout to watch his exploits.

The results

Men: 50 m rifle prone: 1. Joydeep Karmakar 595 +100.3 (10.4, 10.6, 10.4, 9.9, 9.1, 9.9, 9.0, 10.5, 10.4, 10.1) = 695.3, RSPB, 2. Abhinav Bindra 591 + 102.6 (10.4, 9.7, 9.9, 10.1, 10.1, 10.6, 10.3, 10.8, 9.9, 10.8) = 693.6, Punjab, 3. Surendra Singh Rathod 590 + 102.6 (10.5, 10.5, 9.9, 10.8, 9.9, 9.9, 10.6, 9.9, 10, 10.6) = 692.6, Army.Team: 1. Army 1760 (Binod Bahadur 581, Sushil Ghaley 589, Surendra Singh Rathod 590), 2. Navy 1752 (Sanjeev Rajput 589, Deepak K. Dubey 577, Satgurdass 586), 3. BSF 1747 (Hanumana Ram 579, M. Shankar 581, Shamsher Singh 587). Junior men: 1. Devesh Panwar 588 (Army), 2. Hari Om Singh 588 (Army), 3. Ramesh Kumar 583 (Army). Team: 1. Railway Sports Promotion Board 1733 (Arun Wareshi 567, Joydeep Banerjee 589, Pankaj Poddar 577), 2. Bengal 1715 (Sandip Kundu 578, Sanjib Bej 563, Partha Ghosh 574), 3. Karnataka 1710 (Pradeep R. Sail 558, Sajan K. Aiyappa 570, Anand C.K. 582). Men: Double trap: 1. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 191 (Army), 2. Ronjan Sodhi 178 (Chh), 3. Vikram Bhatnagar 177 (Del). Team: 1. Army 396 (D.B. Thapa 125, A.D. Sharma 128, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 143), 2. Del 344 (Vikram Bhatnagar 129, Harpreet Singh Mandla 116, Sangram Dahiya 99), 3. Chattigarh 341 (Mairaj Khan 83, Ronjan Sodhi 135, Mohd. Asab 123). Junior men: 1. Mohd. Asab 123 (Chh), 2. Himanshu 122 (Army), 3. Asher Noria 108 (AP). 25 metres rapid fire: 1. Vijay Kumar 769.8 (Army), 2. Pemba Tamang 759.4 (Army), 3. Ram Kishan 756.5 (Army.Team: 1. Army 1712 (Ram Kishan 568, Vijay Kumar 573, Pemba Tamang 571), 2. Navy 1665 (Harpreet Singh 555, Rahul Panwar 549, Mukesh Kumar 561), 3. BSF 1655 (Mohinder Singh 553, Manju Nath 555, Poonam Kumar 547). Junior men: 1. Vijay Kumar 573 (Army), 2. Ronak Pandit 560 (Mah), 3. Rommel Pandit 537 (Mah).

Women:Double trap: 1. Seema Tomar 88 (Army), 2. Shagun Chowdhary 73 (Raj), 3. Varsha Tomar 64 (Army). 50 m rifle prone: 1. Raj Kumari 592 (Army), 2. Meena Kumari 588 (Army), 3. Kuheli Gangulee 587 (CISF). Team: 1. Army 1760 (D.V.S. Lakshmi Priya 580, Meena Kumari 588, Raj Kumari 592), 2. RSPB 1721 (Anuja Jung 570, Deepali Deshpande 580, Suma Shirur 571), 3. IA 1718 (Avneet Kaur Sidhu 567, Pooja Reddy 580, Navdeep Kaur Dhillon 571). Junior women: 1. N. Saini Devi 582 (Man), 2. Pooja Reddy 580 (IA), 3. Anu Tomar572 (UP). 10 m air pistol: 1. Harveen Srao 479.7 (Chdg.), 2. Shweta Chaudhary 477.3 (IA), 3. Annu Raj Singh 477 (IA). Team: 1. Indian Airlines 1125 (Annu Raj Singh 378, Shweta Chaudhary 377, Sonal Ramendra 370), 2. CISF 1109 (Shilpi Singh 368, Sushma Rana 370, Sonia Rana 371), 3. Maharashtra 1101 (Sheila Kanungo 369, Priyanka S. Karande 369, Aparna S. Salunkhe 363). Junior women: 1. Harveen Srao 383 (Chdg.), 2. Shweta Chaudhary 377 (IA), 3. Deepika Patel 375 (UP).