Former junior World Champion and the silver medalist of the recent World Cup in Baku, Hriday Hazarika asserted his class as he beat another World Cup gold medallist, Arjun Babuta by 1.7 points to clinch the men’s air rifle gold in the Khelo India University Games at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Friday.
After a relatively slow start in the final, the 21-year-old Hriday, representing Cotton University, Guwahati, dominated the final. He had a 1.2-point lead over Arjun before the last two shots, and wound up resoundingly, with shots of 10.7 and 10.6.
Hriday had done well to qualify in second place with a total of 631.5, behind Olympian Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (633.2) who eventually ended up sixth. Aishwary had a 9.8 last shot in qualification, which restricted his total, and was beaten in the shoot-off in the final by Sri Karthik Sabari Raj to the fifth spot, 10.6 to 10.5.
In the women’s 50-metre rifle 3-position event, Ashi Chouksey who had won the mixed team gold with Swapnil Kusale in the Baku World Cup last year, was dominant as she beat teammate from Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Sift Kaur Samra by 3.9 points, after having qualified with the second best score of 584.
It was Manini Kaushik, the World Cup finalist recently in Baku, who led in the kneeling series in the final with 153.0, but the 21-year-old Ashi overtook the field in the prone section and sustained the good shooting through the standing series in the 45-shot final.
Nischal took the bronze ahead of Heena Gohel, Manini, Bandhvi Singh, Vanshika Shahi and Shraddha Thumar.
In the men’s trap, Shardul Vihan led with 71 after three rounds, one point ahead of Akash Sodhi. In the women’s trap, Aadya Tripathi led with 66, two points ahead of Bhavna Chaudhary and national champion Kiran. Two more rounds will be followed by the finals, on Saturday.
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