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Anjum Moudgil put aside the disappointment of her home World Cup, to breach the final qualification mark in the Women’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions (3P) event, while shooting in its Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section at the on-going European Shooting Championship in Osijek, Croatia, on Sunday. The Chandigarh girl shot a score of 1173, a huge improvement from the 1162 she shot in New Delhi, earlier in March this year. 

The eighth and final qualification spot in the Regular event was grabbed by Switzerland’s Franziska Stark, who shot the same score, but had one less inner-10 score than Anjum’s.

Tejaswini Sawant, the second Indian in the fray, also had a decent outing, finishing with a score of 1172. While Anjum finished third in the 16-strong MQS section, Tejaswini was a spot below at fourth. Ukraine’s Lessia Leskiv topped the MQS section with a round of 1177, while Iran’s Najmeh Khedmati was second with 1174.

Germany’s Jolyn Beer topped the Regulars field with an European Championship record equaling 1185. Like it was for the Men on Saturday, the Regulars shot in the morning while the MQS field shot in the second half of the day.

India’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics bound 10M Pistol and Rifle Mixed Team pairs, put up stellar shows while participating in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section of the events, at the on-going European Shooting Championship in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday. 

The day began with the world number one and two pairing of Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar shooting a combined score of 630.6 in the first qualifying round. They finished second overall among 51 pairs, five of which were shooting in the MQS section. The pair would have sailed through comfortably to the next stage where only the top eight pairs make it. The Norwegian pair of Jaeanette Duestad and Henrik Larsen topped the stage with a European record score of 632.0.

Then in the 10M Air Pistol Mixed Team competitions, India’s top team comprising of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary also came overall second among 43 pairs, shooting a combined score of 580 out of a possible 600. 

They finished behind the table-topping Russian pair of Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov. The Russians competing in the regular section shot 583.

While both Elavenil and Divyansh were neck and neck in their 30-shot round returning with scores of 315.8 to 314.8 respectively, Saurabh Chaudhary was way ahead of almost the entire field yet again, shooting a stunning 294 out of 300. Manu shot 286 while only the Russian world number three Chernousov was above Saurabh with a 295.

The second Indian pair in the Mixed Team Rifle event comprising of Anjum Moudgil and Deepak Kumar, shot a total of 622.2 to finish 38thoverall and third among five in the MQS section.

Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Abhishek Verma, the second Indian team in the Mixed Team Pistol competitions, also had a decent outing, finishing ninth overall with a score of 575. The Turkish pair above them was only a point ahead at 576.  

The 13-member Pistol and Rifle Olympic squads’ training cum competition trip continues at the Osijek European Championship and Thursday will see members in action in the MQS section of the Prone events.

Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar

India’s young Shooting talents Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Chinki Yadav, not only won their first International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup stage medals, but made the occasion even more memorable by striking gold in the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions (3P) and Women’s 25M Pistol event respectively, at New Delhi’s Dr. Karni Singh Shooting range on Wednesday.

Shooting on competition day six of the on going ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage being held in the national capital, 20-year old Aishwary set the ball rolling in the Men’s 3P, beating Air Rifle number one Istvan Peni of Hungary 462.5 to 461.6 in a cracking final.

Chinki Yadav

It was Chinki’s turn thereafter, where she led an Indian clean sweep in the day’s second final, the Women’s 25M Pistol. In yet another close match, Chinki and her senior compatriot and fellow Tokyo Olympics quota holder Rahi Sarnobat, had to go into a shoot-off to decide the gold medal, where the youngster prevailed 4-3. Both had earlier tied at 32-hits out of 50. 

Manu Bhaker of India won bronze in the event, when she was eliminated after the ninth and penultimate five-shot series. At that stage, she had 28 hits out of 45.

In Men’s 3P, shooting against such seasoned shooters as compatriot and double Olympian Sanjeev Rajput, former Prone World Champion Steffen Olsen of Denmark and multiple world cup medallist and world number 15 Jan Lochbihler of Switzerland, besides Hungarian Rifle ace Peni, young Aishwary started strong and led the field after the first 15 Kneeling position shots.

At the end of the second Prone position however, Olsen cashed in on a couple of low-scoring shots by Tomar and took the lead with Peni right on Tomar’s shoulder in third. The youngster from the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy then staged a brilliant comeback in the final Standing position, shooting a high 52.2 in the final series before the eliminations (40-shots), to lead Peni, who had now risen to second, by 1.6 points. 

Going into the final 45thshot, Peni had reduced the gap to 0.9, but Aishwary held his nerve admirably to shoot a 10.3, the same as Peni, to secure gold.

In the Women’s 25M Pistol, Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat had earlier in the day topped the qualification round with a score of 581, to lead all three participating Indians into the final. Chinki was second with 580, while Manu was fourth with 576.

The trio did not exactly begin the final with a bang, but with every successive five-shot series, they were slowly but surely climbing up the ladder. By the time Singapore’s Teh Xiu Hong became the first to be eliminated after 20-shots, Chinki was leading with 14 hits, Manu was second with 13 while Rahi was in fourth place with 12 hits to her name.

Latvian Agate Rasmane, then briefly took the lead after the fifth series, but Chinki and Manu were back at 1-2 after the sixth and by the time the seventh series ended it was all India at the top, but this time Rahi had displaced Manu in second position.

The Latvian got eliminated in fourth place after the eighth series with Chinki leading with 27 hits, Rahi second with 25 and Manu third with 24 hits. In the ninth series, both Rahi and Manu had four hits, while Chinki had three, which meant that Manu had to settle for bronze.

In the final 10thseries, Chinki had two hits while Rahi got three to take the match into a shoot-off, where Chinki emerged triumphant.

There was a third final on the day with Slovenia’s world number seven Ziva Dvorska winning the Women’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions in a dominating final performance. She shot 457.1 to beat Nina Christen (ranked four) of Switzerland by a comfortable margin of two points. Poland’s Aneta Stankiewicz won bronze in the event.

India continue to dominate the medals tally with nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals for a total of 19 medals won till now. The USA lie second with three gold, two silver and one bronze medal.

Competition day seven on Thursday also has three finals lined up, with the team events in the Men’s and Women’s 3P as well as the Women’s 25m Pistol on schedule.

India’s Skeet Mixed Team pairing of Angad Bajwa and Ganemat Sekhon, won their country her seventh gold medal of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun being held in New Delhi’s Dr. Karni Singh Shooting range, when they beat Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Yechshenko and Olga Panarina 33-29 in the final on Tuesday. This was India’s fifth medal from the Skeet competitions alone and the hosts now continue to top the medals tally with a total of 15 medals, which includes four silver and four bronze medals as well.

In the only final scheduled on competition day five, Angad and Ganemat first topped the six-team qualification round with a combined total of 141 out of 150 shots, to make it to the gold medal match. The Kazakhs were a point behind with 140. 

The second Indian pairing of Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Parinaaz Dhaliwal made it to the bronze medal match where they eventually lost narrowly to the Qatari pair of Reem Al Sharshani and Rashid Hamad 31-32.

In the other events of the day, Sanjeev Rajput of India, qualified for the finals of the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions event with a quality score of 1172, to top the charts. In-fact all three Indians made it to the final, scheduled for Wednesday morning. 

Fellow Tokyo Olympics quota holder Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar shot 1165 to finish fifth while Niraj Kumar bagged the eighth and final qualifying spot, piping Air Rifle legend Peter Sidi of Hungary when he too finished with 1165. Sidi was ninth with 1164.

In the Women’s 25M Pistol where the first precision round was held, all three Indians were on top of the leaderboard. Indian number one Rahi Sarnobat was perched at the summit with a score of 291, while Chinky Yadav was lying second with 289. Manu Bhaker was third with a score of 288. Wednesday has the Rapid Fire round scheduled before the top eight make it to the final, which is also scheduled on the same day.

In-fact, Wednesday, competition day six of the World Cup, has three big finals scheduled. Besides, the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions and the Women’s 25M Pistol, the Women’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions final is also slated for the day.

A total of 12 nations have medals in the tournament so far. While India leads the field, USA are second with two golds and four medals, while Kazakhstan is third with four medals, including a solitary gold.

NRAI chief Raninder singh

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Saturday announced after a Special General Body meeting, that they have accepted the National Sports Code in its entirety, except one, where a practical relaxations has been made.

It can be recalled that the Sports Ministry had last month given the National Sports Federations six months to align with the National Sports Development Code.

Divulging details of this significant development, Raninder Singh, President, NRAI said, “We are probably one of the first Olympic Sporting Federation to have taken such a step. NRAI has always been at the forefront when it comes to taking decisions, which put athletes and their welfare ahead of everything else. All necessary action in this regard has been initiated. On behalf of the NRAI, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports for standing by us at all times.”

Citing the provision, which was “un-implementable”, Singh said, “The one which says that half the districts should be affiliated to the state federation for it to be recognized is practically not possible on ground in States like Chhattisgarh and Union Territories like Jammu, Kashmir etc. due to prevailing local law and order situations- so we have relaxed that provision to 20% for all State Rifle Associations/UT’s.”

Among other decisions taken, the General Body has remanded the matter on punishment to shooters to the Disciplinary Committee. Till the recommendations of the Disciplinary Committee are received, the Shooters will be allowed to participate in shooting competitions.

Manisha Keer, in practically her first full year as senior, recorded a best ever finish at an International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun stage, finishing seventh in the Women’s Trap competition on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt.

Manisha was hard done by a final round 21, to finish with a score of 113 in qualifying, which got her into a three-way shoot-off for the last two finals spots. She had scores of 23 out of 25 in each of the four preceding rounds and was in second place going into that fifth round.

She missed her first shoot-off shot, ensuring her Spanish and Polish rivals were then just fighting for bib numbers.

Top six shooters qualify for the 60-shots final round.

Kirti Gupta and Rajeshwari Kumari finished 17thand 18thin Women’s Trap respectively and the trio can still make amends in the Team competition where they are presently ranked third with a combined score of 314.

In the Men’s Trap, Prithviraj Tondaiman finished 26thwith a score of 112. Lakshay Sheoran shot 110 for a 34thplace finish while Kynan Chenai was two behind in 36thplace. He shot 109.

Sushil Kumar with Deepa Malik.

The first-ever National Para Shooting Championship 2020-21 for Rifle/Pistol events was inaugurated at the Manav Rachna Shooting Range, in Faridabad on Monday.

Around 200 shooters from across the country are participating in the competition organised by Sports Technical Committee, Para Shooting under the aegis of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) from March 1 to 5, 2021.

Sushil Kumar, India’s most decorated wrestler who has won consecutive Olympic medals, was the Chief Guest for the day who also fired the inaugural shot at the 10-meter shooting range at Manav Rachna Shooting Academy.

PCI President Deepa Malik and Secretary General Mr. Gursharan Singh also graced the inaugural event while Dr. Amit Bhalla, VP, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions was the Guest of Honour.

“We are very delighted and thankful to Manav Rachna for hosting the first ever National Para Shooting Championship. Such championships highlight the fact that Para Sports are also the mainstream sports and this National Championship will send this message to everyone in the country,” said Malik.

Added Gursharan: “This is a historic moment for us and para shooters in the country. This will boost the Paralympic Movement in the country. It’s the first step towards producing future Paralympic shooters.”

Congratulating the players, Dr. Bhalla shared, “We wish to create a sports ecosystem for everyone to play, and represent the country in different sports.”

Also present during the ceremony were Ashok Bedi, Assistant Secretary, PCI; Rahul Swami, Chief Administrator, PCI; J.P. Nautiyal, Chairperson, STC Shooting; Subhash Rana, National Coach for Indian Para Shooting Team; Sarkar Talwar, Director-Sports, MREI and other senior dignitaries from Manav Rachna and PCI.

Owing to its world-class Olympic-level shooting infrastructure, Manav Rachna has been chosen to host this prestigious championship: Nine Olympians are currently training/studying with Manav Rachna, 7000+ budding shooters are training across 13 shooting ranges, Shotgun shooting range for Trap, Double Trap, Sporting and Skeel, and country’s only Perazzi lounge housed within the Shooting Range.

Recently the Hon’ble Union Minister for Sports Kiren Rijiju inaugurated the first-of-its-kind 25 mtr and 50 mtr convertible shooting range at the Manav Rachna campus.

Raninder Singh (Photo credit: Twitter)

National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh on Monday announced, that he would be persuading the General Body of the National Federation, scheduled to meet on March 5, 2021, to stay the recent decision taken by the Governing Body, to ban certain Shooters from the next Nationals for disciplinary reasons. 

Invoking powers vested on him as President, Singh said, “It has always been our endeavor to act in the best interests of our Sport and our Shooters. As such, no one is as pained as us when at times severe action is needed to be taken on anyone belonging to the Shooting fraternity, most of all, on our dear Shooters. I received several requests from the parents and the affected Shooters themselves on the recent decision taken by the Governing Body.”

“As such I have decided to refer the decision to the General Body, scheduled to meet early next month, and persuade them to not implement the said decision. However, this will certainly be a one-off, and any such disciplinary breach, will not be tolerated in the future.”

In a meeting held last week, the Governing Body of the NRAI had banned the following Shooters from taking part in the next Nationals, for breach of discipline.

1.   Sriharsha R. Devaraddi
2.   Keshav Sharma
3.   Vikram Singh Bhati
4.   Imroz Ahmed
5.   Pratyush Aman Barik
6.   Yashaswini Singh Deswal
7.   Tarun Kumar Dahiya
8.   Meenal Yadav
9.   Tejpreet Kaur Oberoi
10. Dilpreet Singh
11. Rajeev Ranjan
12. Visnu Shivraj Pandian
13. Krishan Kumar
14. Jyothi H Sannakki
15. Ishank Ahuja

World champion powerlifter Mahant Gaurav Sharma, who recently switched to shooting, is all set to take part in the 36th Delhi State Shooting Championship, scheduled to start on February 8 at the Manav Rachna Shooting Ranges, Village Pali, Haryana.

Gaurav had earlier won the bronze medal in 10m ARM shooting event at the Khelo Masters Games 2019-2020 in Ghaziabad. 

Excited about the event, Gaurav said, “After lockdown this is my first event. I am really happy with it. I want to give my best. My coach Falaq Sher Alam is guiding me well.” 

Gaurav will take part in the Double trap event this year. Gaurav, who took up powerlifting at the age of 17, is a giant of the sport. He had won two gold medals at the European Championships in 2019. 

“For any athlete it is an honour to represent India and when the tricolour goes high, you can’t express that feeling,” Gaurav said. 

The Delhi athlete also clinched two gold medals at the 2016 World Powerlifting Championships in England. In 2007, he won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships in New Zealand. 

Initially starting out as a weightlifter, Gaurav later switched to powerlifting under the guidance of Dronacharya awardee coach Bhupender Dhawan. But now he has switched to shooting. “Shooting is something that helps me keep calm. I will try to participate in more shooting competitions now,” he added.