National Shooting c’ships: Elavenil wins 10m air rifle gold

Elavenil Valarivan took the title with a new National record to boot.

As many as 342 shooters went through the grind in the preliminary round.   -  AFP (Representative Image)

Elavenil Valarivan (Gujarat) captured the women’s 10m air rifle gold medal at the 61st National shooting championships at the National Games shooting range here on Thursday.

The final line-up was such that it was a virtually a who’s who of Indian shooting in the event, but the 18-year-old proved that her win in last month’s sixth National selection trial in New Delhi last month was by no means a flash in the pan. Valarivan took the title with a new National record to boot.

The young shooter was just a decimal point ahead of favourite Apurvi Chandela (Rajasthan) prior to the last shot of the competition. But she held her nerve and concentration well to finally clinch the top position with a total of 250.6 points.

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Chandela, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in Glasgow, was second with 250.4 points while Mehuli Ghosh (Bengal), quota place winner for the upcoming Youth Olympics, was in third with 228.7 points.

The event, which saw a long drawn-out competition, what with as many as 342 shooters going through the grind in the preliminary round, had finished with Apurvi leading the fray with a total of 419.3 points, ahead of Ayonika Paul (Railways, 419.0), Mehuli (418.9), Pooja Ghatkar (Maharashtra, 418.7), Anjum Moudgil (Punjab, 418.6), Elavenil (417.7), Zeena Khitta (Himachal Pradesh, 417.6) and Maduri Dipak Parmar (417.7) towards the final.

Apurvi vs Elavenil

With elimination starting after the first stage of competition, Ayonika was forced to quit initially with a less than average score of 112.7, and was followed suit by Khitta (142.9), Moudgil (163.5), Ghatkar (185.7), Parmar (207.2) behind the 2014 Glasgow silver-medallist. This left Elavenil, Apurvi and Mehuli in the hunt for the medals.

Elavenil, who had taken the lead after the fifth of the nine rounds, displayed her consistency and grit in good measure as she stayed on the top even as Mehuli was forced out of the competition to settle for the third spot. However, Apurvi did come breathing down the neck of her young rival in the closing stages of the contest, cutting down the Gujarat girl’s lead to just a decimal point, with only one shot remaining.

But, Elavenil was not to be stopped as she came up with a hit of 10.5 compared to Apurvi’s 10.4 to eventually win the title by a .2 margin. The old benchmark of 249.7 was set by Pooja Ghatkar in Brisbane early this year. In the junior women’s competition, held later, Elavenil was unable to come up with a repeat winning show, pushed to second spot by Mehuli Ghosh, who won with a score of 249.4. Elavenil returned with a total of 249.2 while Zeena Khitta was third with 224.3.

In the team event for women for the same discipline, Gujarat took the gold medal with a total of 1244.3 ahead of Maharashtra (1244.0) and Bengal (1243.0).