Mehuli's double whammy

Having qualified with a world class 632.7, Mehuli was expected to dominate the stage.

Mehuli Ghosh holds her two gold medals in women's air rifle in the Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship in Delhi on Monday.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Mehuli Ghosh proved too good for her competitors as she won both the women’s and junior gold medals in air rifle in the 18th Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Monday.

Having qualified with a world class 632.7, Mehuli was expected to dominate the stage. The 17-year-old, who trains with Olympian Joydeep Karmakar in Kolkata, showed a lot of character in battling the challengers and asserting her high level of accuracy.

To her credit, Meghana Sajjanar - who had helped Karnataka to the mixed gold with Tejas Krishna Prasad - struck telling blows in the climax, including a perfect 10.9 on the last shot, to bridge the gap to 0.6.

Shreya Agrawal had beaten Elavenil Valarivan 10.6 to 10.5 in the shoot-off and ensured a bronze medal, as Meghana pipped her by 0.1 points.

Anjum Moudgil had a bad start to the final and finished eighth, behind Simrat Chahal, Neha Chaphekar and Barkha Chauhan.

Mehuli came back stronger for the junior final and compiled 252.1 in beating Kavi Rakshna by 1.3 points for the gold. Kavi had pipped Elavenil by 0.5 points to march ahead for a better medal, and shot 10.8 and 10.4 on the last two shots to bridge the gap with Mehuli.

Subdued celebration

For someone who had possibly missed the gold in the Commonwealth Games owing to a premature celebration - when she had only tied the score with a perfect 10.9 on the 24th shot - Mehuli did not show any signs of jubilation after winning back-to-back gold medals.

"I was upset about the two 9s in the final in the women’s event. In the juniors, I did not feel like celebrating", said Mehuli, quite spontaneous with her response.

Mehuli added that there was no time to bask in the glory as she would be shooting the fifth set of selection trials on Tuesday. With only two to be selected for the Asian Games, Mehuli's nervousness was understandable, with Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil figuring at the top in the overall averages.

Manini Kaushik was fourth ahead of Shreya Agrawal and Nupur Patil, in the junior event. Nupur Patil went on to shoot a total of 250.0 and finished energetically in beating Nischal Singh to the gold in the youth section.

In the fifth trials, Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar topped the 25-metre standard pistol with 578, ahead of Deepak Sharma and Gurpreet Singh. Anish Bhanwala was content to top the juniors, ahead of Ayush Sanwan and Sambhaji Patil.

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