It was the turn of Devanshi Rana to give a further hint of the prowess of the children of prodigy shooters, as she won the women’s sports pistol gold amidst considerable drama in the Khelo India Youth Games at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi, on Sunday.
Daughter of pistol ace Jaspal, who had won the Asian Games gold in 1994 in Hiroshima and went on to win three more gold in 2006 in Doha, Devanshi won the climax with a cool performance, in the absence of her friend, the world beating Manu Bhaker.
On a day when Mehuli Ghosh won her second gold, the mixed air rifle in partnership with the 10-year-old Abhinav Shaw for Bengal, and Manisha Keer won her second gold, in mixed trap in association with Anwer Hassan Khan for Madhya Pradesh, the 19-year-old Devanshi beat Anjali
Choudhary by one point for the 25-metre sports pistol gold.
A student of Lady Shriram College in Delhi, Devanshi led 23-20 before the last series of five shots. However, a long-drawn shoot-off between Anjali Choudhary and qualification topper Abhidnya Patil (579), saw Devanshi lose her rhythm.
In the shoot-off that stretched to 20 shots over four series, Anjali had squeezed her way past Abhidnya, with telling last shots in almost each round. Eventually, the Haryana girl had failed to give luck any further chance, as she did not load five bullets for her gold series. After shooting three out of four in the last series, Anjali’s pistol had no ammunition to fire the fifth, for a possible magical finish.
In contrast, Devanshi could score only one point out of five, and that proved the clincher.
Anjali had grappled with her malfunctioning gun earlier during the final, and was in fact given a spare magazine, when her pistol failed a second time.
Having exhausted her ammunition, owing to the extended shoot-off, Anjali had erred in not seeking a loan for the title round.
Mehuli Ghosh was brilliant in guiding Abhinav Shaw to the gold in a strong field, the way she had done in the last national championship in Kerala. Shooting second, Mehuli scored strong to help Bengal to the gold with a big margin of 5.6 points over Rajasthan’s Divyansh Singh Panwar and Manini Kaushik.
Manisha Keer was equally brave in helping Madhya Pradesh to the mixed gold, after the team had qualified in the third place out of four.
"I had to fight hard. We had talked and decided that come what may, we will keep fighting till the end, without losing hope", said Manisha, who is trained by Olympian Mansher Singh.