Rahi Sarnobat, the first ever Indian woman to win a gold medal in the Asian Games, proved her class as she collared the 25m sports pistol title in the 62nd National shooting championships at
the Vattiyoorkavu National Games ranges on Sunday.
The Pune-based 28-year-old, having struggled through the qualifiers finishing only fifth and with the final field including the likes of the experienced Heena Sidhu (ONGC) and the new pin-up girl of India shooting, Manu Bhaker (Haryana), it was expected to be anybody’s game.
However, Rahi’s showing in the 10-round final of 50 shots was a class act as she came up with a commendable show marked with poise and consistency. Having started with an identical three each in the first two rounds, the Maharashtra shooter raced ahead of the field with four hits out of five through the next six rounds and proved that she was one to beat.
Heena and Manu wilted under pressure to finish seventh and fifth even as Rahi finished with a score of 36, six points clear of Pushpanjali Rana (CRPF) who finished second. Chinki Yadav (MP) was third with 20 points.
An elated Rahi shared her happiness of winning, “The qualification had been tough for me, but this was one that I was never going to give up that easily. Everything went well for me in the final and I am happy that I lived up to the expectations and saved my reputation.”
Manu overcame her miserable showing in the senior event, with a top podium finish in the junior section. The Haryana girl with a card of 24 points finished ahead of Devashi Rana (ONGC) and Neha (Uttarkhand), the eventual silver and bronze-medallists.
In the men’s section, Ravi Kumar (Air Force), who had helped himself to a bronze medal in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, retained the men’s 10m air rifle title edging out Sandeep Singh (Army Marksman Unit) in a close finish.
Ravi Kumar totalled 250.2 points through the final series while Sandeep came just 0.6 points behind. Keval Jashvantbhai Prajapati (Gujarat), the winner of the gold medal in the youth section, was third at 229.1.
The corresponding event in the juniors section was won by Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar (Rajasthan) ahead of team-mate Yash Vardhan and Keval, which again proved to be a touch and go affair.
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