Shooting Nationals: Shweta bags gold medal in air pistol

Asian Games medallist Shweta Singh shot better in the climax to beat Yahaswini Deswal by 1.7 point for the gold in women’s air pistol in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad on Tuesday.

Women's air pistol medallists Malaika Goel (left), champion Shweta Singh and silver medallist Yashaswini Deswal in the National shooting championship.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Asian Games medallist Shweta Singh shot better in the climax to beat Yahaswini Deswal by 1.7 point for the gold in women’s air pistol in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Tuesday.

Trailing by 0.1 point after 16 shots in the final, the 29-year-old Shweta shot a total of 39.5 points on the last four shots to 37.7 by Yashaswini. After having shot a 7.1 and an 8.4 in the early phase of the final, it was a courageous performance by the ONGC employee, as Shweta handled the competition with composure at the crunch.

It was the sixth national women’s air pistol gold for Shweta, who had dominated the event as a junior when she emphasised her potential with the fourth place in the World championship in Lahti with a score of 382 in 2002. She had topped the qualification this time with an impressive 386, and Yashaswini had followed her two points away.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Malaika Goel lost the shoot-off for a better medal, 8.6 to 10.6 to Yashaswini after the two had tied on 172.9 after 18 shots.

Sonia Rai, Shri Nivetha, Annu Raj Singh, Yogita Lamba and Juhi Talwar finished fourth to eighth in that order. Yogita who had impressed during the Asian Air Gun Championship in the MQS section at the same venue, clinched the youth gold in a strong field of 200 shooters.

Olympian Annu Raj Singh led after six shots but 6.2 on the eighth shot dragged her out of the race while the other Olympic in the event, Heena Sidhu had opted to skip the championship as she was recovering from a bout of illness.

In men’s 25-metre rapid fire pistol, which was shot in broad day light in the morning, after having been postponed on Monday evening owing to inconsistent lighting, Pemba Tamang won the gold as he beat Neeraj Kumar 27-24, after having qualified for the final with a modest 565.

In the first five series, Pemba built up a total of 18 points that helped him handle the climax with ease. It was a brave performance by Neeraj, the qualification topper with 579, after he was docked a point for a late shot in the fifth series of the final.

Gurpreet Singh, who has won an Olympic quota place in air pistol, had to settle for the fourth place, as he could not sustain a good start when he collected 11 points from three series.

Thus, Wazeer Singh Rathi who shot 577 in qualification jumped to the bronze medal, while former silver medallist Akshay Suhas Ashtaputre was beaten to the fifth place by TB Jena, who had qualified with 565 like Pemba Tamang.

In women’s 50-metre rifle prone event, Raj Chaudhary pipped Lajja Gauswami 35-34 in terms of the number of inner-10s after the two tied on 620.2 in the non-Olympic event. Former World Champion Tejaswini Sawant pulled through to the bronze medal 1.5 point ahead of her coach Kuheli Gangulee.

Elizabeth Susan Koshy had a dream start but could not sustain her strong shooting in the second half of the 60-shot contest.

Results:

Men: 25m rapid fire pistol - 1. Pemba Tamang 27 (565); 2. Neeraj Kumar 24 (579); 3. Wazeer Singh Rathee 19 (577).

Women: 10m air pistol - 1. Shweta Singh 193.5 (386); 2. Yashaswini Deswal 191.8 (384); 3. Malaika Goel 172.9 (381).

Juniors: 1. Yashaswini Deswal 384; 2. P. Shri Nivetha 382; 3. Malaika Goel 381.

Youth: 1. Yogita 381; 2. Harshada Sadanand Nithave 374; 3. Abhidnya Patil 374.

50m rifle prone: 1. Raj Chaudhary 620.2 (35x); 2. Lajja Gauswami 620.2 (34x); 3. Tejaswini Sawant 617.5.

Juniors: 1. Chahat Deep Kaur 615.7; 2. V. Srinithi Abirami 615.4; 3. N. Gaayathri 612.0.