Ghaley wins 50m prone; Heena clinches 25m pistol

Indian Army’s Sushil Ghaley won with score of 207.5 after the 20 shot final. Heena Sidhu won the women’s 25 metre pistol event. She won the gold and silver medal round 8-2, winning three rounds of five shots each and sharing points in two rounds.

Sushil Ghaley created a national record with a qualification score of 628.7 in the last year’s national championship.   -  Special Arrangement

(Top, from left) Muskan, Heena and Rahi with a range official and Ashok Pandit, Competition Director.

Pop group Bee Gees’ famous Saturday Night Fiver sound track "Staying alive" set the mood at the Balewadi Sports Complex shooting range as eight prominent shooters lay flat on the floor, face down for the 50 metre rifle prone final.

Music is a pleasant accompaniment for the spectators right from the time the shooters line up for introduction and till the last shot is fired and the melodic line from the John Travalto-starring movie just about stirred up action.

Amongst the finalists was the Indian Army’s Sushil Ghaley who created a national record with a qualification score of 628.7 in the last year’s national championship, but who finished seventh overall and the Indian Railways’ Swapnil Kusale who had clinched the title last year.

There was also a famous competitor in Gagan Narang too, but one who has not accomplished much in the prone event. After the contestants had strung together three shots in opening first competition of two series under 100 seconds, the Army’s Chain Singh led the top three with Rahul Poonia and Navdeep Singh Rathore following him.

But as the final entered the elimination round of 14 single shots, Ghaley – who won the same event at the nationals held here in 2011 – showed signs of being in dazzling form and once he took the lead in at the end of the 12th shot, he did not lag behind, although the Indian Navy’s Poonia challenged him till the very end. Ghaley won with score of 207.5 after the 20 shot final.

Narang remained in contention following a shoot-off with Rathore, but the champion air rifle shooter was eliminated after Ishan Goel and Rathore. Thereafter Kusale and Satyendra Singh made their exit from the competition leaving Ghaley, Poonia and Chain Singh the in the fray.

Consistently shooting the five-targets (for 10.5 plus scores) was Ghaley’s hallmark and eventually the seasoned campaigner in the prone event -- that Abhinav Bindra and the ISSF’s Athletes Commission want to throw out from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics -- won the scrap with Poonia.

Heena Sidhu won the women’s 25 metre pistol event that had excellent shooters including Muskan, Rahi Sarnobat, Annu Raj Singh from Haryana and Surabhi Pathak, Pushpanjali Rana, Chinki Yadav and Baljinder Kaur.

The 25 metre is not Heena’s favourite event which is the 10 metre air pistol. "I have entered this event in four nationals, qualified for the title round two times and this is my first 25 metre pistol win."

Placed fourth in the qualification rank, Muskan, a right-hand shooter hit the target consistently and to lead with a score of 15 (hits on target) at the end of the fifth series of five shots each.

A shoot-off thereafter among Heena, Rahi and Annu Raj – all tied at a score of 14 hits – resulted in bronze medal round between Rahi and Annu Raj.

The local girl, Rahi, won the third position hands down 8-0 as an outcome of winning four series of five shots each, while Heena won the gold and silver medal round 8-2, winning three rounds of five shots each and sharing points in two rounds.

Two points are awarded for winning a series in the medal round. Pushpanjali Rana, Surabhi Pathak, Chinki Yadav and Baljinder Kaur were eliminated after the fifth series.

Muskan appeared quite disappointed with the outcome. "This happens. It’s difficult to sustain the aggression right through. It happened to me also; I lost my rhythm," said Heena.

In the third big final of the day, Karnataka’s Meghana Sajjanar excelled in high-precision shooting to win the women’s 10 metre air rifle gold medal. Qualifying with a highest score of 416.2 from a high 287 entry-list, Meghana led from the opening to the 10th series and clinched the title with a concluding 10.6 effort on the centre ring to deflate the hopes of the junior title winner from West Bengal, Mehuli Ghosh.

Results (all final) Men's 50m Prone: Sushil Ghaley (Army) 207.5 (620.8), 2. Rahul Poonia (Navy) 206.9 (620.0), 3. Chain Singh (Army) 184.5 (625.1), 4.Satyendra Singh (Army) 162.8 (619.5), 5. Swapnil Kusale (Rlys) 142.2 (621.3), 6. Gagan Narang (Air India) 122.1 (620.3), 7. Navdeep Singh Rathore (Madhya Pradesh) 101.8 (618.4) 8. Ishan Goel 80.1 (Uttar Pradesh) (618.7)

Women’s 25m Pistol: 1. Heena Sidhu (ONGC) 14-8 (574) 2. Muskan (Haryana) (574) 15-2, Rahi Sarnobat (Mah) 14-8 (574), 4. Annu Raj Singh (Air India) 14-0 (573), 5. Pushpanjali Rana (CRPF) 12 (573), 6. Surabhi Pathak (Madhya Pradesh) 11 (579), 7. Chinki Yadav (Madhya Pradesh) 11 (570), 8. Baljinder Kaur (BSF) 9 (570).

Women’s 10m Air Rifle: 1. Meghana Sajjanar (Knt) 208.2 (416.2), 2. Mehuli Ghosh (West Bengal) 206.7 (415.6), 3. Kiranjit Kaur (Pnb) 185.3 (414.0), 4. Pooja Ghatkar (Mah) 165.2 (415.5), 5.Dilreen Gill (Pnb) 413.9, 6. Suma Shirur (Railways) 121.0 (414.1), 7. Vinita Bhardwaj (Haryana) 101.0 (414.5), 8. Simrat Chahal (Rajasthan) 80.2 (415.).