Manu Bhaker wins air pistol gold at national championship

After qualifying in the fifth place with 576, Manu dominated the final, except when the eventual silver medallist Shri Nivetha briefly snatched the lead.

Esha Singh, champion Manu Bhaker and Shri Nivetha who won the women's air pistol medals in the National shooting championship in Delhi on Saturday. Esha won the junior and youth gold medals.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Olympian Manu Bhaker asserted her class by winning the women’s air pistol gold in the 64th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

After qualifying in the fifth place with 576, the 19-year-old Manu dominated the final, except when the eventual silver medallist Shri Nivetha briefly snatched the lead.

It was commendable composure by Manu as she handled the 24-shot final with equanimity despite eight 9s and a 7.9. Eventually, she beat Shri Nivetha by 1.7 point for the gold.

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Qualification topper Esha Singh (582) grappled with a string of 9s and 8s that pulled her to the bronze medal.

However, Esha regrouped her shooting nicely to capture both the junior and youth gold medals later to emphasise her phenomenal ability to stay focused through three finals. It may be mentioned that the women’s field had 483 shooters, the juniors had 381 and the youth section featured 489.

Such a vibrant performance was nothing new for the 16-year-old Esha, as she had announced herself to the country by sweeping the women’s, junior and youth gold medals as a 13-year-old in the National championship in Thiruvananthapuram.

Manu did finish fifth in the juniors, but she was more than happy and relieved to have stressed her ability with the women’s gold.

The competition could have been a lot more interesting but for Rhythm Sangwan, who sparkled with 582 in qualification, being disqualified owing to her pistol trigger failing the weight test.

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Ruchita Vinerkar, Aadhya Tayal, Devanshi Dhama and Shweta Singh placed fourth to seventh in the women’s event, while Palak opted to skip the final to focus on juniors and youth events.

Olympian Yashaswini Singh Deswal shot 570 and placed 18th.

Devanshi Dhama went on to win the junior silver and youth bronze, while Tejaswani won the junior bronze and youth silver.

Olympian Rahi Sarnobat shot 568 for the 29th place in the women’s event, but should start the favourite in the 25-metre sports pistol which will have the finals on Monday.

Manu Bhaker will also be itching to demonstrate her prowess in the event.

The results:

10m air pistol: Women: 1. Manu Bhaker 241.6 (576); 2. Shri Nivetha
239.9 (581); 3. Esha Singh 215.4 (582).

Juniors: 1. Esha Singh 240.7 (582); 2. Devanshi Dhama 237.9 (576); 3.
Tejaswani 218.0 (574).

Youth: 1. Esha Singh 240.3 (582); 2. Tejaswani 237.9 (574); 3.
Devanshi Dhama 218.1 (576).


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