Lakshay Sheoran tops merit list in trials

With an overall average of 117.13, Lakshay narrowly pipped former World champion Manavjit Sandhu, with whom he may be competing in the forthcoming Asian Games in Jakarta.

With an overall average of 117.13, Lakshay narrowly pipped former World champion Manavjit Sandhu.   -  REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE/GETTY

Lakshay Sheoran, who has been shooting only for the last four years, has left the stalwarts behind in topping the merit list in men’s trap after two sets of selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad.

He previously had an average of only 113.33, but the 19-year-old Lakshay shot up with consistent scores of 118 and 119 in the two trials, in which he took the second and first place respectively.

Thus, with an overall average of 117.13, Lakshay narrowly pipped former World champion Manavjit Sandhu, with whom he may be competing in the forthcoming Asian Games in Jakarta, once the national selectors ratify the final list.

The regulars in the national squad — Olympian Kynan Chenai, Zoravar Singh Sandhu, leading shooters like Prithviraj Tondaiman and Birendeep Sodhi have been left behind.

Former Asian champion Anwer Sultan, who had won the first trial, spoilt his case with a score of 110 in the second trial.

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Sandhu may make the team for the World Championship along with Lakshay and Manavjit, as the third member, as he was 0.01 point ahead of Tondaiman.

In women’s trap, Shreyasi Singh and World Cup silver medallist Seema Tomar figure in the top two, ahead of Varsha Varman and Rajeshwari Kumari. Olympian Shagun Chowdhary, who won the first trial, was in the sixth place.

Rajeshwari was pipped by 0.08 point by Varsha to the third place, which may mean a ticket to the World Championship. The entry restriction is only two shooters per event in the current edition of the Asian Games.

In men’s skeet, Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan squeezed his way back into the team in the third place behind Sheeraz Sheikh and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa.

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Smit Singh, who had made the Commonwealth Games final was beaten by 0.24 point by Mairaj, while other champions like Man Singh, Amrinder Singh Cheema and PPS Guron slipped to the lower positions.

In women’s skeet, Ganemat Sekhon topped with 109.30, ahead of national champion Rashmmi Rathore and Maheshwari Chauhan. The latter did very well to win the second trial after shooting 108 in qualification.

Champions like Saniya Sheikh and Arti Singh placed fifth and seventh respectively.

Areeba Khan was yet to shoot her trials owing to illness, and thus may still fancy her chances.

In men’s double trap, Ankur Mittal, Shardul Vihan and Mohd. Asab were in the top three ahead of Ahvar Rizvi, Sangram Dahiya, Sanjay Rathore, Lakshjet Sindhu, Shapath Bhardwaj and Asian Games gold medallist Ronjan Sodhi.

There was not much competition in women’s double trap, with Shreyasi, Varsha and Bhavna Chaudhary taking the three places.

The Asian Games is scheduled to be in Jakarta from August 18 to September 2. It will be followed by the World Championship in Changwon in Korea — which offers the first set of Olympic quota places for Tokyo 2020 from August 31 to September 15.

For the shotgun shooters, there are still two World Cups left in the season in Malta in June and in Tucson, US in July.

The team selected earlier will compete in the Malta World Cup, while the National Rifle Association of India may take a call on fielding a team in the US World Cup, as it had earlier skipped the

World Cup in rifle and pistol in Fort Benning, US, owing to a cramped calendar.