Shooting: Gurpreet, Shweta round off India’s campaign in style

Gurpreet Singh and Shweta Singh rounded off the Indian gold rush in the shooting competitions of the 12th South Asian Games, winning the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol and the women’s 10m air pistol at the SAA complex, Kahilipara, on Monday.

Gurpreet Singh shoots in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event for men in the South Asian Games.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Gurpreet Singh and Shweta Singh rounded off the Indian gold rush in the shooting competitions of the 12th South Asian Games, winning the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol and the women’s 10m air pistol at the SAA complex, Kahilipara, on Monday.

The host team, thus, laid claim to all but one of the 26 gold medals decided during the six-day event. Bangladesh’s Ahmed Sakil, who won the 50m pistol title on the opening day, was the one who stopped the home team from making a clean sweep.

In the men’s event, which featured three Indians and an equal number of Pakistani shooters, Gurpreet had trailed his seasoned team-mate Vijay Kumar by a point in qualification, 572 to 571. But in the final, Gurpreet was more consistent than Vijay and was an easy winner.

Starting off moderately with 3 hits on the opening sequence of the eight-round final, in which each shooter had to individually take five shots in four seconds, Gurpreet proceeded to score 4, 5, 4, 1, 3, 4 and 4 through the remaining seven rounds to finish on top of the field with a total of 28 hits. Mustafa Ghulam Bashir (Pakistan) was second with 24 hits ahead of Vijay Kumar, who had a wayward final and got eliminated at 20 hits.

Shweta seizes right moment

Akshay Suhas Ashtaputre, the other Indian entrant, had exited earlier after having a washout in the fourth round, but his contribution of 559 in qualification together with the scores of Gurpreet and Vijay was good enough for India to claim the team gold for the event with 1702 points. Pakistan (1677) and Sri Lanka (1525) finished behind the home team in that order.

Shweta, on her part, had an average score of 373 in qualification as she trailed team-mates Heena Sidhu (386) and Yashwini Singh Deswal (374) into the final. And even though she was forced to shoot with her spare pistol in the crucial elimination round, the 29-year-old from Chandigarh found her touch in the nick of time before scoring an upset win over Heena Sidhu.

The day’s winner was placed seventh after the initial round of three shots with a total of 27.1 points and sixth with 76.2 points when Heena surged ahead of the field with 77.3. But as the field narrowed down to four, Shweta took the lead which she held thereafter with a consistent show to gain the gold medal at 194.4 compared to the 192.5 of Heena. Yashwini did well to claim the bronze with 171.3.

India, naturally, had little trouble in picking up the team gold medal with 1133 points ahead of Bangladesh (1103) and Sri Lanka (1093).

The results:

Men: 25m rapid fire pistol: 1. Gurpreet Singh (Ind), 571, 28, 2. Mustafa Ghulam Bashir (Pak), 567, 24, 3. Vijay Kumar (Ind), 572, 20. Team: 1. India, 1702, 2. Pakistan, 1677, 3. Sri Lanka, 1525.

Women: 10m air pistol: 1. Shweta Singh (Ind), 373, 194.4, 2. Heena Sidhu (Ind), 386, 192.5, 3. Yashwini Singh Deswal (Ind), 374, 171.2. Team: 1. India, 1133, 2. Bangladesh, 1103, 3. Sri Lanka, 1093.