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By A. Joseph Antony
Anjali Bhagwat who won the gold in the 50-metre sport rifle event in the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Photo: K. R. Deepak
The qualifiers served as the springboard to the final in an event Anjali doesn't quite consider her strongpoint. The two 98s she posted in the prone was good showing by her standards. In the kneeling round, the 90 she recorded initially was a sign of things going out of hand. National coach Prof. Sunny Thomas called her and suggested a change of position. That paid off for she improved her tally to 97 in the second series.
A 98 in standing was very impressive, although she couldn't quite match that in the second string, recording 96. At the end of that preliminary round, Anjali was trailing Kazakhstan's Olga Dovgun by two points.
The final, which features competition only in the standing position, saw fortunes fluctuate. After seven shots, the Central Industrial Security Force Inspector was ahead by 1.5 points. In the next, Anjali had an unimpressive 8.8, while Dovgun notched 9.8, bridging the gap to .5. That was further reduced to .3 after Anjali fired 9.5 on the ninth and Olga, 9.8.
In the all-important final shot of the competition, Anjali secured 9.9, while the Kazhak markswoman skidded to a 7.9 score. In the process, Olga's two-point edge from the qualifiers was erased and Anjali's wafer-thin .2 margin from the final enabled the latter clinch the gold.
Kuheli Gangulee had a perfect 10.9 in the sixth shot of the final series. She upstaged Korea's Hyun Ah Kong, who was ahead by three points in the qualifying round.
Mobbed after her triumph, Anjali said she hadn't expected a gold, since it wasn't her event. When she noticed Olga's relatively low standing score of 185 in the qualifiers, Anjali thought she'd give the final her best shot.
The 8.8 she scored on the eight shot of the final was the outcome of trying for perfection, instead of concentrating on alignment, she reasoned. To sum up, she said Wednesday's triumph was compensation for Tuesday's setback.
In the commotion following her victory, Anjali's engagement ring went missing. On Tuesday, there was distress over her jacket being stamped on the floor in the melee that followed her silver winning performance.
Used to practising in bright lights, Rajyavardhan Rathore found the light a shade too bright, despite cloudy weather. Although rated the best in the field, he said it was a fresh game everyday and things couldn't be taken for granted. To add to the visibility problem, he felt sleepy and couldn't keep his eyes focussed, he said.
Amidst the elation of two golds, was a discordant note. The daily pocket allowance of $ 40 wasn't reaching the shooters.
Men: 10 m air pistol: 1. Tan Zongliang (Chi) 693.8 (593, 10.4, 10.5, 10.0, 10.7, 10.0, 9.4, 10.3, 9.9, 10.4, 9.2) 2. Van Tonder (SA) 674.4 (576, 9.7, 8.7, 9.4, 10.0, 10.3, 9.9, 9.3, 10.8, 10.0, 10.3). 3. Friedhelm Sack (Nam) 673.1 (575, 9.8, 9.2, 10.4, 10.3, 9.7, 10.2, 9.6, 9.4, 10.0, 9.5).
Double trap: 1. Rajya Vardhan Singh Rathore (Ind) 174 (130, 44) 2. Ronjan Sondhi (Ind) 167 (123, 44) 3. Michael Nicholson (Zim) 162 (124, 38).
Women: 50 m rifle three position: 1. Anjali Bhagwat (Ind) 675.5 (577, 10.1, 10.3, 9.8, 10.6, 10.6, 9.0, 9.9, 8.8, 9.5, 9.9) 2. Olga Dovgun (Kaz) 675.3 (579, 9.5, 10.4, 9.6, 9.7, 10.3, 10.2, 9.1, 9.8, 9.8, 7.9). 3. Kuheli Gangulee (Ind) 669.7 (572, 10.4, 8.3, 10.1, 9.7, 8.7, 10.9, 10.2, 10.3, 9.1, 10.0).
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