Sift Kaur Samra on Monday pipped seasoned campaigner Shriyanka Sadangi to claim the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions title in a thrilling gold-medal match at the 36 th National Games.
Sift, who had to fend off Olympian and eventual bronze medallist Anjum Moudgil in a shoot-off to qualify for the final, was off to a flying start.
The Punjab shooter maintained a clean sheet until she had bagged six points. At a time when most would have thrown in the towel, Sadangi gave a glimpse of her experience on the final day of the rifle and pistol disciplines at the Rifle Club in Khanpur.
First, she registered a 10.4 to tie with Sift in the fourth competition shot. With the total now at 7-1, she scored two back-to-back 10s to claim the next two series.
When the scores reached 13-7, Sift’s coaching team had already started celebrating. But the 27-year-old from Odisha wasn’t done yet. A massive 10.8 followed by a 10.4 had Sadangi breathing on Sift’s neck.
Although, Sift claimed the next point, Sadangi bounced back to pocket the next two series with a 10.7 followed by a 10.8 to draw level at 15-15.
With both shooters one hit away from the winning mark, Sift and Sadangi each recorded a 9.6, the spectators gasping in disbelief.
Sift held her composure to fire a 10.1, compared to Sadangi’s 9.8, to romp home 18-16.
Earlier, the 10m air pistol mixed team gold-medal deciding tie was a closely contested affair as well, with qualification runner-up Punjab claiming the yellow metal with a 17-11 scoreline.
With the score at 4-2 in favour of Uttar Pradesh, Vijayveer Sidhu of Punjab, also the gold medallist in the individual event, shot a perfect 10.9. If that wasn’t enough to rattle the opponent, Vijayveer’s partner Harnavdeep Kaur hit a perfect shot again two series later.
Although Punjab picked up eight points on the spin, the momentum soon shifted towards Yuvika Tomar and Ujjawal Malik of UP, who managed to take their score to 11 with Punjab at 13. However, Vijayveer and Harnavdeep didn’t let them win a point more and secured the gold. Maharashtra and Haryana won the two bronze medals on offer.