Commonwealth Shooting C'ships: Pooja Ghatkar bags gold; clean sweep by men shooters

Pooja Ghatkar shot gold in the 10m Air rifle event at the Commonwealth Championship in Gold Coast on Wednesday.

Shahzar Rizvi came up with a high quality fare to beat the much accomplished Omkar Singh and Jitu Rai to the gold in men’s air pistol in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The Indian sweep in men’s air pistol was quite notable and the women air rifle shooters did very well to clinch the gold and silver through Pooja Ghatkar and Anjum Moudgil, while Meghana Sajjanar narrowly missed being among the medals.

After Heena Sidhu had given the golden start in women’s air pistol on Tuesday, and was followed by men’s air rifle bronze by Deepak Kumar,
five more medals boosted India’s tally considerably.

The shotgun shooters continued to slip, especially in skeet, as the trio of Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Sheeraz Sheikh had to first fight among themselves for the last two spots in the final after being tied at 119, and eventually placed fifth to seventh in a world class field.

 

Of course, the day belonged to the 23-year-old Shahzar who has very little international exposure as compared to Omkar Singh, winner of three gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and Jitu Rai, the army shooter who has won a bunch of medals at every level except the Olympics.

Shahzar topped qualification with 581 points, five points ahead of Omkar Singh, while Jitu continued to struggle as he did during the World Cup Final last week, in returning a modest score of 571.

In the final, Shahzar, who had won the Asian championship junior gold last year, and had placed ninth among juniors in the World Championship in Granada in 2014, recovered from a slow start to pull ahead. He marched forward on the last six shots to clinch the gold, while Omkar and Jitu slipped with a string of low scoring shots. Shahzar eventually won by a 4.7 point margin.

The rest of the shooters from Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Wales were unable to match the sharp Indian performance.

In women’s air rifle, Pooja Ghatkar and Anjum Moudgil looked to have conserved their energy during qualification, taking the fourth and sixth spots, and asserted themselves in the final. Pooja, one of the few Indian shooters to compete in the individual event of the World Cup Final recently, finished strongly to beat Anjum by 1.1 point.

Martina Lindsay Veloso Neo of Singapore finished ahead of Meghana, while the better known Xiang Wei Jasmine Ser of Singapore finished sixth.

The results: Men: 10m air pistol: 1. Shahzar Rizvi 240.7 (581); 2. Omkar Singh 236.0 (576); 3. Jitu Rai 214.1 (571).

Skeet: 1. Ben Llewellin (Wal) 59 (120)6; 2. Jack Fairclough (Eng) 51 (122)4; 3. Paul Adams (Aus) 43 (122)3; 5. Angad Vir Singh Bajwa 25 (119)10; 6. Mairaj Ahmad Khan 15 (119)(9,4); 7. Sheeraz Sheikh 15 (119)(9,3).

Women: 10m air rifle: 1. Pooja Ghatkar 249.8 (415.3); 2. Anjum Moudgil 248.7 (414.1); 3. Martina Lindsay Veloso (Sgp) 224.8 (417.5); 5.Meghana Sajjanar 183.8