It was an anti-climax for the expectant fans as both the men’s and junior men’s trap finals were postponed owing to bad light, in the 61st National Shotgun championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Friday.
With malfunctioning scoreboards among other interruptions delaying the proceedings, it was difficult for the organisers to complete 94 rounds, spread over six ranges, on time. With the tie-shoot to decide the finalists in the men’s event taking more time, and the atmosphere becoming increasingly gloomy owing to the winter setting, the president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Raninder Singh, postponed the finals for Saturday, after consulting all the shooters in the men’s final.
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Thus, the big gathering of fans had to be content with the excitement of the shoot-off featuring some of the best in the country, apart from some excellent shooting in the qualification phase.
While Zoravar Singh Sandhu and former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu topped the qualification with 117, there were five candidates vying for the remaining four slots in the final. Kynan Chenai, who had competed in the Rio Olympics, was knocked out in the shoot-off, while the former champions and Olympians who are training many shooters - Mansher Singh and Anwer Sultan - pulled through along with Fahd Sultan and Aman Ali Elahi.
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Interestingly, in absolute low light conditions earlier, Mansher Singh, who had competed in four Olympics between 1984 and 2008, smashed a brilliant 24 to win a warm round of applause. Anwer Sultan, the former Asian champion and the only Indian shooter to win a quota place for the Sydney Olympics, shot two rounds of 24 to get into the race. The young Aman Ali Elahi did the same, after he had looked to have spoilt his chances with a third round of 19 after having been in the lead.
Former national champion Anirudh Singh missed the final by one point, while Birendeep Sodhi who shot well in the recent Commonwealth Championship, missed the final by two points, like Prithviraj Tondaiman and Vishwa Kundu.
Aman Ali Elahi (116), Vishwa Kundu (114), Vibhu Sharma (113), Ashutosh Murkute (113) and Lakshay Sheoran (113) confirmed their berth in the junior final. There will be a shoot-off between four others - Akash Saharan, Kismat Chopra, Vrishankaditya Parmar and Vishal Chauhan - for the last spot.
Former junior champion Manavaditya Singh Rathore missed the final by two points, as he had spoilt his chances with a second round of 19.
The NRAI president Raninder Singh, who had won the silver medal in the last two editions, could not touch three figures, despite finishing well with a round of 22. He made 98. His score was relatively better than the two-time champion Darius Chenai, who had won his last title two years ago but could muster only 91 out of 125 this time.
- Veterans: G. R. Khan 98; 2. Yadavendra Singh 93; 3. Shahrukh Shamshad 91.