Shooting at National Games 2022: Surprises, fiascos, and Rudrankksh Patil’s impressive run

There wasn’t a whole lot at stake at the 36th National Games for many shooters. Surprises, upsets, and spectacular performances, though, made the shooting events at the Games entertaining. The organisers went out of their way, too, make the sport more spectator friendly.

Stunning performance: The unheralded Samarth Ranjit Mandlik won bronze in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the National Games. Mandlik, whose father runs a kirana store in Kolhapur, doesn’t even have a coach.

Stunning performance: The unheralded Samarth Ranjit Mandlik won bronze in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the National Games. Mandlik, whose father runs a kirana store in Kolhapur, doesn’t even have a coach. | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

There wasn’t a whole lot at stake at the 36th National Games for many shooters. Surprises, upsets, and spectacular performances, though, made the shooting events at the Games entertaining. The organisers went out of their way, too, make the sport more spectator friendly.

For most shooters, and especially those who had made the national team ahead of the ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Championship in Cairo, the 36th National Games served as nothing more than a dry run. There was no match pressure and the season was waning towards its denouement. Even a fiasco at the Rifle Club in Ahmedabad hardly hurt their fortunes.

However, there were a few, such as Madhya Pradesh’s Shreya Agrawal, who had a point to prove. Partnering long-time friend Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar in the mixed team event of the 10m air rifle discipline, Shreya, 22, clinched the silver medal. Only about three weeks ago, she had missed the cut by the barest of margins – 0.05 point. On the other hand, Meghana M. Sajjanar, whom Shreya lost the Worlds berth to, not only failed to qualify for the 10m air rifle finals at the Games but also couldn’t to reach the ranking round in the Egyptian capital.

ALSO READ - Mallakhamb, an exotic sport, hopes to find place among the ordinary

Then there were the entertainers, the giant-slaying Davids of sporting contests, such as Samarth Ranjit Mandlik. With a national ranking of 50, there wouldn’t have been many at the range who would have given him a chance as he, alongside Ruchita Rajendra Vinerkar, went up against junior Worlds medallist Esha Singh and Kaushik Gopu in the first bronze medal match of the 10m air pistol mixed team event. However, Maharashtra pulled a rabbit out of the hat, crushing favourite Telangana 16-4. Mandlik, whose father runs a  kirana store in Kolhapur, doesn’t even have a coach!

Teen talent

And of course, you had those who have made winning a habit. High-10s were the order of the day as Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil blazed his way to the gold medal in men’s 10m air rifle. The 18-year-old, who thinks of delicious foods to keep his mind off crunch situations during a game, would go on to win not only a senior World Championship gold medal in Egypt with a mind-boggling qualification score of 633.9, but also the all-important Paris 2024 Olympics quota.

On the very first day of competitions, the 25m range had a few National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) technical officials red-faced as a number of equipment snags marred proceedings. On top of that, they had to deal with a few player protests. These issues were, however, effectively dealt with. In the larger scheme of things, considering the fact that Gujarat had only about three months to stage a competition of such magnitude, it was a job well done.

The organisers also deserve a pat on the back for going out of their way to make the sport more spectator-friendly.  Dholaks had the crowd tapping their feet to the beats in the finals, and there was an august group to cheer for the participants: the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association had invited Olympic medallists P. V. Sindhu and Gagan Narang, World Athletics Championship bronze medal winner Anju Bobby George and Commonwealth Games medallist Trupti Murgunde to the range on September 29.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :
Download Sportstar App
Download Sportstar App
 Daily football podcast
Connect With Us