Yash Vardhan continued to hog the attention, but this time in partnership with Meenakshi, as Rajasthan pulled the rug from under the feet of West Bengal in a dramatic fashion for the mixed air rifle gold in the 19th Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Friday.
In a gripping final, Mehuli Ghosh and Bibaswan Ganguly were on the brink of victory at 15-7, after having led 11-3, even as the Rajasthan pair kept itself in the hunt with good scores.
With the combined total of the two shooters in a team being compared for the award of two points for the team with the better score, it was not enough shoot good scores, but better than the other team.
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What followed was a fairy tale, as Yash and Meenakshi kept winning the next four rounds to take their tally to 15-15. Some of the margins were 0.2 and 0.1 which denied the gold for West Bengal.
Then there was a tie as both teams logged 20.0, with each taking one point. The fans were on their toes, and came alive when the two teams again tied with 20.9, to make it 17-17.
Meenakshi delivered the knock-out punch at this stage with 10.8 and Yash shot 10.5 to seal victory for Rajasthan, with 21.3 as against 20.0 by the Bengal pair.
Bibaswan who lost his rhythm in the second half of the final and could not get the 10s, let alone the high 10s with rare exceptions, apologised to Mehuli for messing it up, but she was quite sporting to accept the silver with a smile.
Mehuli was brilliant in the junior final, as she had an able partner in Shuvam Basu. In the final, Mehuli shot scores in the range of 10.3 to 10.9, as Bengal prevailed 17-9 over Rajasthan, which had Yash partnering Manini Kaushik.
The Youth final was equally gripping, as the Telangana pair of Homanshika Reddy and Dhanush Srikanth, pipped Andhra Pradesh duo of Maddineni Umamahesh and Dintharrithi Supriya 17-15, after having led 15-9. At 15-15, Telangana shot 20.9 to pip Andhra by 0.1 point.
The International Federation has been changing the rules for the mixed events quite frequently in an attempt to have the best possible format for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.