Anirudh Singh gave a bright start for the host as he led with 49 after two rounds of trap in the Asian Shotgun Championship at the New Moti Bagh Gun Club here on Thursday.

In bright and pleasant conditions, when gusty winds played havoc with the flight of the clay birds, the 35-year-old Anirudh asserted his class as he shot the only perfect round of the day. Hitting most of the birds square on the head with the first barrel, Anirudh was, in fact, on course for another round of 25, but missed the 22nd target for his only blemish.

Though generally inconsistent, Anirudh had shot 122 out of 125 in qualifying on way to being fourth in the World Cup in Acapulco in 2010. Having laid a good launching pad, he has a good chance of staying in contention for a medal in the elite field.

While Shigetaka Oyama of Japan followed the Indian one point behind, after identical rounds of 24, the Kuwaitis were breathing down their necks, with scores of 47 through two-time Asian Games champion Naser Meqlad and former World junior champion Abdul Rahman Al Fahan.

Two-time Olympic medallist Fehaid Aldeehani, who has already won the double trap silver here, faltered a bit following rounds of 20 and 22 that saw the Indian team take a five-point lead.

Fehaid Aldeehani had been running around for two days to replace former World champion Khaled Almudhaf in the team, with Abdul Rahman Al Fahan, and struggled to regroup his concentration. Khaled Almudhaf shot 45 after being relegated to the MQS section.

For the host, Prithviraj Tondaiman shot 47 while former World champion and five-time Asian champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu kept a low profile with rounds of 22 and 23.

Defending champion Mansher Singh, shooting in the MQS section, struggled to capture his best form, and could muster only 43. His cause was not helped when he failed to shoot the last bird in the second round, claiming that the bird had been delayed.

Zorawar Singh Sandhu made 41 in the MQS section, while the president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Raninder Singh made 42 in the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Memorial Indian Open Grand Prix.

In the women’s section, Olympian Shagun Chowdhary jointly led with Sarah Alhawal of Kuwait, on 44. She was shooting well and looked good for better scores than rounds of 22.

Sepideh Sirani of Iran followed with 42.

The other Indians were not able to match the good work of Shagun, who had finished fourth in the last World championship.

In the MQS section, Shreyasi Singh started well with a round of 22, but slipped to a second round of 18.

In the Grand Prix, Federica Caporuscio of Italy also led with Shagun and Sarah with 44.

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