National Shooting Ch’ship: Vijay Kumar loses to Rizvi

The 21-year-old Shahzar, who had placed ninth among the juniors in the last World Championship in Spain, kept his cool to shoot close to his best as he beat Vijay Kumar by 1.4 points for the gold medal.

Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar was beaten by Shahzar Rizvi.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Shahzar Rizvi of the Indian Air Force (IAF) beat Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar to the gold in men’s air pistol in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

As the score display system malfunctioned and failed midway through the final, much to the disappointment of the huge gathering, the 21-year-old Shahzar, who had placed ninth among the juniors in the last World Championship in Spain, kept his cool to shoot close to his best as he beat Vijay Kumar by 1.4 points for the gold medal.

Came to win: Shahzar

Before the last two shots, Shahzar had a 0.7 point lead over Vijay Kumar, the rapid fire specialist, who has an individual bronze medal in air pistol in the Asian Games.

Shahzar, who had won the silver in the last edition in Pune, shot 10.0 and 9.2, as Vijay responded with 9.3 and 9.2.

“I came to win the gold, even though the final score is not great. This was only the national championship, not the Olympics,” said Shahzar, speaking with conviction.

In fact, he promptly opened his diary to show the entry to emphasise that he did expect to win the gold.

Sib Kumar Ghosh who had led the field for two days with 580, looked set to upset the calculations of Shahzar, till he shot 6.8 on the 17th shot that dropped him to the bronze medal.

“It is a game. Anything is possible,” said Shazar Rizvi, who trains under the leadership of Wing Commander Aditya Uday Singh.

“He has been doing well. In the National Games he misfired one shot, after winning the silver in the National Championship. He is a hard working guy,” praised Wing Commander Aditya Singh.

Vijay Kumar qualified ahead of Achal

“Concentrate on timing and aiming. Mind relax and free,” was the winning formula of Shahzar this day, as he had jotted down in his diary as Plan-A.

He executed it nicely, after having qualified in the eighth place, and just about squeezing in, by beating Depak Sharma (19x) and Om Prakash (17x) on a better tally of 20 inner-10s, after being tied on 577 with them. Incidentally, Vijay Kumar had also qualified with 577 in the sixth with 24x ahead of Achal Grewal (21x).

Challenging field

It was a challenging field, as apart from Jitu Rai, there was multiple gold medallist of the Commonwealth Games Omkar Singh and the young Amit Kumar Pilaniya. The national junior champion Achal Pratap Singh Grewal crashed out first.

Omkar Singh, Rohit Kumar, Jitu Rai, Amit Kumar Pilaniya and Achal Pratap Singh Grewal finished fourth to eighth in that order.

A regular member of the national squad in both free pistol and air pistol, Prakash Nanjappa was 51st with a score of 569 as his good work was undone by second and third cards of 91 and 92.

Of course, he could take solace from the fact like his fellow Olympic quota winner Jitu Rai, for having won the individual medal in free pistol.

The results:-

10m air pistol:

Men: 1. Shahzar Rizvi 199.6 (577); 2. Vijay Kumar 198.2 (577); 3. Sib Kumar Ghosh 177.2 (580).

Juniors: 1. Achal Pratap Singh Grewal 577 (21x); 2. Pawan Yadav 577 (16x); 3. Arjun Das 575.

Youth: 1. Saurabh Choudhary 573; 2. Dhruv Pran Singh 572 (18x); 3. Shainki Nagar 572 (17x).