Anita Devi refused to be cowed down by big names and clinched the women’s sports pistol gold in the 57th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Tuesday.

In a spectacular finish, Anita matched fellow Haryana shooter, the seasoned Anisa Sayyed, in the first two series of the gold medal contest and then beat her in the next three, in which she had perfect fives in two.

Anita had matched Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anisa in the semifinals earlier, by topping the elite eight with 17 points.

“I am very happy. It is a result of hard work,” said Anita, who had trained at the start with another experienced shooter and coach Ved Prakash in Bhopal, about three years ago.

Quite remarkably, Anita had been training only for a week prior to the national championship as the head constable with Haryana Police had earlier met with a bike accident while riding pillion with her husband Dharambir Gulia, and hurt her knee.

“It feels great that Haryana has swept the individual medals apart from the team gold,” said Anisa Sayyed, who was troubled by the inordinate delay in conducting the final, as the lighting had to be improved after the semifinals.

Meanwhile, in men’s air pistol, Dharmendra Singh of Army beat a mixed field with a score of 199.1. The sepoy expressed his gratitude to Russian coach Yury Lisichko and the Army for the strong preparation.

“I was confident of finishing in the top three, but am thrilled to win the gold,” said the 22-year-old Dharmendra who made his mark in his maiden final, after having qualified in seventh place.

Dharmendra beat Jitu Rai by 1.7 points, while 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games hero Samaresh Jung recaptured some of the old magic to clinch the bronze, after losing a shoot-off with Jitu Rai 9.1 to 10.6 when the two had tied on 177.4.

There were many new faces in the final, and the topper Parveen Kumar was the first to be eliminated while Kapil Kumar went on to take fourth place ahead of Balbir Singh and World Cup bronze medallist Prakash Nanjappa.

In women’s trap, defending champion Shreyasi Singh topped with a score of 67, one point ahead of Varsha Tomar, while Olympian Shagun Chowdhary was on 65. Fasia Khilji, Shikha Bhaduria and Seema Tomar won the shoot-off for the last three spots ahead of Ria Rajeshwari Kumari, when all of them were tied on 62. Owing to failing light, the women’s final was rescheduled for Wednesday.

In men’s trap, Darius Chenai led with 50 after two perfect rounds, one point ahead of Prithviraj Tondaiman, while Anwer Sultan, Manavjit Sandhu and Zoravar Sandhu were on 48. Mansher had slipped in the second round and was on 46, along with Birendeep Sodhi, Raninder Singh and Ajay Rathore.

In women’s rifle 3-position, Anjali Bhagwat led with 580 points, three points ahead of Lajja Gauswami, and the final was rescheduled for Wednesday.

The results:

Men: Air pistol: 1. Dharmendra Singh 199.1 (576); 2. Jitu Rai 197.3 (577); 3. Samaresh Jung 186.5 (576).

Women: 25m sports pistol: 1. Anita Devi 8 (17) 580; 2. Anisa Sayyed 2 (17) 585; 3. Gauri Sheoran 8 (11) 574; 4. Rahi Sarnobat 2 (14) 577.

Juniors: 1. Gauri Sheoran 574; 2. Chinki Yadav 561; 3. Oshin Tawani 558.

Junior women: Rifle 3-position: 1. Elizabeth Susan Koshy 573; 2. Vedangi Virag Tulzapurkar 569; 3. Anjum Moudgil 567.

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