Telangana’s Esha Singh on Saturday pulled a rabbit out of the hat to win her maiden National Games gold medal in women’s 25m sports pistol at the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association in Khanpur.
Fighting to stay alive in the contest at one point during the ranking round, there wouldn’t have been many in the audience who would have given her a chance. Her father and mentor Sachin, however, never gave up hope. After she made the medal match, courtesy of a solitary extra hit in a shoot-off against Haryana’s Vibhuti Bhatia, Sachin smiled and said, “Just made it... somehow!”
In the medal match, she found herself precariously placed over the edge of a precipice again, only a point ahead of bottom-placed Manu Bhaker until the end of the third five-shot series. With a perfect series (5/5) just before the elimination, she marked herself safe and even proceeded to get nine successful hits in the next 10 shots to move to the top. After that, there was no looking back as the 17-year-old finished with 26 points.
Sachin, beaming with pride, as his daughter climbed onto the podium, said, ”She has always been like this... She wins it out of nowhere.”
Haryana’s Rhythm Sangwan (25) won silver, while Abhidnya Ashok Patil (19) of Maharashtra won bronze.
Meanwhile, Haryana toppled favourite Madhya Pradesh (MP) 17-9 to take the 10m air rifle mixed team honours home. Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan were adjudged the winners of the two bronze medals.
MP’s Shreya Agrawal, who was paired with Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, started the gold medal match with a 9.9 and that kind of reflected what was to befall.
On the other hand, Haryana’s Ramita, who is quickly climbing up the echelons of Indian shooting with solid recent performances in ISSF events, and Arshdeep Singh got off to a confident start, maintaining a clean sheet till 4-0 when both shooters registered 10.8 each.
Momentarily, it seemed like there might be a change in trend, as Aishwary hit the perfect score – 10.9 – immediately after a team timeout to take matters to 7-13, but the success was shortlived.
In the bronze medal matches, Shreya Saksena and Vidit Jain of Uttar Pradesh were no match for Team Rajasthan (Divyansh Singh Panwar and Nisha Kanwar), the final score reading 16-8. Punjab’s Arjun Babuta and Samiksha Dhingra were two high series short as Tamil Nadu’s Sri Karthik Sabari Raj and R. Narmada Nithin won the race to the 16-point mark.