National shotgun championship: Skeet qualifiers begin with three perfect rounds

Smit Singh, Gurjoat Singh and Mairaj Ahmad Khan are tied in men’s skeet, with Ganemat Sekhon leading in the women’s and junior events.

Smit Singh acknowledges the applause for a perfect round in men's skeet.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Smit Singh of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Gurjoat Singh of Punjab gave company to Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan at the top with two perfect rounds in men’s skeet in the 63rd National shotgun championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Wednesday.

On a bright day, which later gave way to a spell of rain in the evening, the best of shooters got off to a good start — which included Ganemat Sekhon leading in the women’s and junior events with 49.

A finalist in the Commonwealth Games last year in Gold Coast, Smit Singh who graduated from Oxford, had failed to hold on to his place in the national team this year. He got a good start to stake his claim for the next season.

Asian champion, Olympic quota winner and defending champion Angad Vir Singh Bajwa missed a bird in the second round to be on 49, along with Haris Ul Islam, Gurnihal Singh Garcha and Mohd. Sheeraz Sheikh.

Six others were on 48 in the men’s section, which included Ayush Rudraraju. Former Asian champion Man Singh shot 46, one point better than the young Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, who was part of the national team for the World Championship in Lonato and the World Cup in Lahti this season.

Ganemat had started well in the women’s event with a 25, but slipped to 23 in the second round. Yet she was the sole leader, one point ahead of Parinaaz Dhaliwal and the former national champions Saniya Sheikh and Rashmmi Rathore.

Areeba Khan, Darshna Rathore, Jasmeen Kaur and Sarveshwari Kumari shot 46.

Two-time National champion Maheshwari Chauhan had a tough first round of 20, but responded remarkably well to shoot a perfect 25 in the second round, to stay close to the leading bunch, in her bid to defend her crown.

Simranpreet Kaur Johal and Asees Chhina were on 44, with three more rounds to be shot over the next two days.

The top six after five rounds will compete in the final on Friday.