The Coimbatore Rifle Club has installed two electronic targets and a bubbly Gaayathri Nithyanandam could not conceal her delight at her home town showing off an important apparatus of the shooting sport after she demolished a field of experienced and promising juniors to win the Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions competition of the 60th National Shooting Championship at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
A little over an hour after Haryana’s Aditi Singh proved much stronger in the same event for juniors, Gaayathri turned out to be quietly ruthless in her execution of shots in the kneeling, prone and standing positions in a field that had proven winners like Anjali Bhagwat, Tejaswini Sawant, Elizabeth Susan Koshy and newly crowned junior national champion Aditi Singh. It was a stunning display by Gaayathri who in fact became the first individual gold medal winner from Tamil Nadu in the senior category after two decades. A team official said Roopa Unnikrishnan was the last State shooter to win a gold medal, although shooters born and raised in Tamil Nadu, but representing the Services have won medals of different hues.
Remarkable was Gaayathri’s control over her nerves and consistency in hitting the targets for delivery of high scores right through the 45 shot final that she and Kerala’s Elizabeth completed after six other lowest scoring finalists --- Amandeep Kaur, Tejaswini Sawant, Anjum Moudgil, Tejaswaini Muley, Aditi Siungh --- were eliminated after the start of the single-shot Standing Position round.
After the well filled gallery created a real buzz around a James Bond movie musical piece just after the eight contenders had completed the sighter shots, Gaayathri started with a bang throwing up aggregate scores of 50.2, 50.0 and 50.6 in the kneeling position three series consisting of five shots each for an aggregate of 150.8. Thereafter she sustained her accuracy in the face down prone position and to lead with a score of 302.6 at the conclusion of 30 shots. Lying low after the kneeling-position round, Elizabeth staged a fantastic recovery to take the third position behind Anjali.
It was in the standing position that Gaayatri, who showed poor scores during the preparation sighter shots, surprised her rivals, an anxious mother, herself and her coach Satgurdass. Once the competition reached the medal round , it became more or clear that Gaayathri would be crowned the national champion. She had a run of 10.6, 9.0, 9.3, 10.3 and 10.0 in the last five single shot series. In the end she won by a distance.
Talking to Sportstar , Gaayathri said: "Last year I won the gold in the juniors and a bronze in the seniors. This time its gold in the seniors and silver in the juniors. It’s quite a nice feeling. I have taken part in international events, playing the finals.I was disappointed not winning the juniors and I just wanted to prove myself in the seniors. I think it’s an okay score, not as much as I had expected. I am planning to work a lot on Standing Position shots. I am kind of weak in that. Usually I lead up to Prone Position and then drop below third position after the Standing shots. But I think today I showed signs of improvement; I did not drop after the Kneeling and Prone Position shots. The electronic targets installed at the Club has helped me a lot. I was confident of winning the gold in the juniors and that I thought I have to fight it for positions in the seniors; it happened the other way around. I am very happy. I am done with juniors now."
Gaayathri’s coach Satgurdass said: "I am happy she has won the senior gold. But I have to prepare her for tough competitions. We are working on her technique in the Standing Position. The electronic targets at the CRC will help her. I have been coaching her for two years now. There or only four or five shooters in Coimbatore and in 3 positions, only Gaayathri and Abirami.’’
Result (final)Women 50m Rifle 3 Positions : 1. N.Gaayathri (Tamil Nadu) 450.3 (577), 2. Elizabeth Susan Koshy (Kerala) 445.3 (577), 3. Anjali Bhagwat (Maharashtra) 431.9 (576), 4. Aditi Singh (Haryana) 420.0 (578), 5. Tejaswini Muley (Rlys) 409.7 (575), 6. Anjum Moudgil (Chandigarh) 398.8 (580), 7.Tejaswini Sawant (Maharashtra) 388.1 (586), 8. Amandeep Kaur (BSF) 378.9 (573).
Team: 1. Maharashtra (Tejaswini Sawant, Anjali Bhagwat, Priyal Keni) 1729.0, 2. Haryana (Aditi Singh, Kajal Saini,Meena Kumari)1715.0, 3. Tamil Nadu (N.Gaayathri, W.Sandhya, Srnithi Abirami)