Manavjit asserts supremacy

"I wanted to prove a point to myself, with so many people talking about me. I am glad with the way I shot. Qualification score does not reflect the quality of shooting. But, the final was very good’’, said Manavjit, who defended his national title.

Manavjit Singh Sandhu, who defended the trap title with a classy performance in the National shotgun championship in Delhi, is happy to have his hands full, with son Ameir.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Former World champion and six-time Asian champion, Manavjit Singh Sandhu asserted his undisputed class yet again as he beat another Olympian and former Asian champion Anwer Sultan 45-43 in a high quality final in trap in the National Shotgun Championship at the Dr.
Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

"I wanted to prove a point to myself, with so many people talking about me. I am glad with the way I shot. Qualification score does not reflect the quality of shooting. But, the final was very good’’, said Manavjit, who defended his national title.

The champion marksman said that trap needed experience, unlike other events, and that he was shooting at his best. He looked at the examples of Anwer Sultan and Mansher Singh shooting well, as a clear indication of experience calling the shots.

"The NRAI emphasises a lot on juniors and they get a lot more camps than us. But, with trap, it will take time. You need experience to hold your nerve in tough conditions, know when to press the accelerator. Instead of staying completely away, I was guiding young shooters. When they do well, it is a reaffirmation of your technique and methods. It is also important to give back to the sport. Next year is very important, and I will be focusing on my own shooting,’, said Manavjit Singh Sandhu.

He was happy to find his son Ameir watch the final and enjoy the competition.

"I am happy that my son was watching and having fun today. When my father (Gurbir) and Randhir Singh won the Asian Games in 1982, I was a six-year old then and watched them at this same range," recalled Manavjit.

With so much at stake in the National Championship, the organisers had opted to postpone the finals on Friday, owing to poor visibility. It looked a fine decision, as quality and experience prevailed in the end.

Shooting with renewed vigour after taking time off from the circuit post Rio Olympics, Manavjit had the hunger to nail the clay birds with uncanny accuracy. In the single-barrel final, it was impressive that Manavjit shot 45 out of 50.

It was a throw back into the past as Anwer Sultan was equally impressive, shattering 43 birds, and getting the silver ahead of another qualification topper Zoravar Singh Sandhu, a current member of the Indian team.

Mansher Singh who had competed in four Olympics from 1984 to 2008, and was keen along with Manavjit, to enter the Sydney Olympics on the quota won by Anwer, on the basis of current form, showed his strong basics by finishing ahead of the two young shooters Fahd Sultan and Aman Ali Elahi.

A medal eluded Aman Ali Elahi in the junior event as well, after he had qualified at the top with 116. Aman Ali was pipped to the medals by Lakshay Sheoran, Vivaan Kapoor and Ashutosh Murkute, while Vishwa Kundu and Vibhu Sharma placed fifth and sixth respectively.

There was no tie for the sixth spot, as was originally calculated as the four shooters who shot 110 did not make the top-six.

Interestingly, the top three in qualification took the fourth to sixth places in that order, while the fifth placed Lakshay Sheoran shot remarkably well to beat Vivaan Kapoor by two points for the gold.

The results:

Trap: 1. Manavjit Singh Sandhu 45 (117); 2. Anwer Sultan 43 (116); 3. Zoravar Singh Sandhu 33 (117).

Junior men: 1. Lakshay Sheoran 41 (113); 2. Vivaan Kapoor 39 (112); 3. Ashutosh Murkute 31 (113).



Devanshi Rana, the young daughter of pistol ace Jaspal Rana, proved a chip off the old block, as she won the second place in the women’s air pistol ahead of seasoned shooters in the fifth National selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

Devanshi missed the No. 1 spot by 0.4 point to Manu Bhaker, another trainee of Jaspal himself.

Lakhbir Sidhu won the third place ahead of World junior champion Yashaswini Deswal and Olympian Annu Raj Singh. Ruchi Singh who had topped qualification with an impressive 386 place seventh behind Anisa Sayyed and ahead of Akanksha Bansal.

In women’s rifle 3-position, Gaayathri Nithyanandam dominated the qualification with a score of 588, and clinched the top spot in the 45-shot final 0.2 point ahead of Anjjum Moudgil. Former world champion Tejaswini Sawant took the third spot ahead of Dilreen Gill, Raj Chaudhary, KC Hema, Ayushi Podder and Kajal Saini.

The results:

Women: 10m air pistol: 1. Manu Bhaker 241.2 (384); 2. Devanshi Rana 240.8 (383); 3. Lakhbir Sidhu  217.2 (381).

50m rifle 3-position: 1. Gaayathri Nithyanandam 457.4 (588); 2. Anjum Moudgil 457.2 (580); 3. Tejaswini Sawant 438.5 (585).

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