National Selection Trials: Dhanush Srikanth shines in air rifle

The 17-year-old tames a star-studded men’s field to finish at the top.

Dhanush Srikanth (centre) has been shooting record scores this season.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Dhanush Srikanth was at his fluent best as he tamed a star-studded men’s field in air rifle in the sixth National shooting selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Dhanush, a trainee of Gagan Narang’s Gun For Glory academy, has been shooting record scores this season, making light of his impaired hearing. It was thus no surprise that he won the men’s event and the junior event, and finished second-best in the youth category.

Dhanush beat Pankaj Kumar of the Army, who had topped qualification with an admirable 631.8, by 1.4 point for the honour in the men’s event, which had 362 shooters.

Sandeep Singh, who has been competing in the MQS section in the World Cups, was third ahead of Ravi Kumar, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Asian Games silver medallist Deepak Kumar.

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Ravi Kumar, who had lost his place in the national team for the last World Cup in Rio, shot 628.4 in qualification. Divyansh Singh Panwar, who won the only Olympic quota in men’s air rifle so far, shot 626.7 in qualification. He opted to skip the junior and youth finals.

Dhanush pipped the junior qualification topper Keval Jashvantbhai Prajapati by 0.4 point, after the latter had a string of 10.9 and 10.8 in the last 10 shots.

World junior champion Hriday Hazarika was fifth in the junior event, behind T. R. Srijay, who bagged the third place, and the Youth Olympics silver medallist Shahu Tushar Mane.

Arjun excels in 50-metre free pistol

In the non-Olympic men’s 50-metre free pistol, Arjun Singh Cheema topped with 562. He clinched the honour in the junior event as well. Arjun was six points ahead of Gaurav Rana and Omkar Singh, while the former World Championship silver medallist and Asian Games gold medallist Jitu Rai placed seventh with 553.

In junior men’s sports pistol, Mitesh Kumar Manilal Gohil shot 583 to beat World junior champion Udhayveer Sidhu by four points.

The results
  • 10m air rifle
  • Men: 1. Dhanush Srikanth 252.1 (626.9); 2. Pankaj Kumar 250.7 (631.8); 3. Sandeep Singh 229.1 (627.5).
  • Juniors: 1. Dhanush Srikanth 251.6 (626.9); 2. Kevan Jashvantbhai Prajapati 251.2 (630.1); 3. T. R. Srijay 229.6 (627.1).
  • Youth: 1. Kevan Jashvantbhai Prajapati 251.5 (630.1); 2. Dhanush Srikanth 248.9 (626.9); 3. Hriday Hazarika 228.8 (625.2).
  • 50m free pistol
  • Men: 1. Arjun Singh Cheema 562; 2. Gaurav Rana 556; 3. Omkar Singh 556.
  • Juniors: 1. Arjun Singh Cheema 562; 2. Gaurav Rana 556; 3. Vikash Kumar 550.
  • 25m sports pistol
  • Junior men: 1. Mitesh Kumar Manilal Gohil 583; 2. Udhayveer Sidhu 579; 3. Dilshaan Kelley 578.