Arozepal Singh and Mairaj Ahmad Khan pulled off a much needed gold medal for the host in skeet in the Commonwealth shooting championship at the Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad on Thursday.
Though the scores were not high and the opposition not that strong, it was an important breakthrough for the Indian men's skeet team, after the women's team, spearheaded by Arti Singh had missed the gold by one point to England.
With Arozepal Singh shooting rounds of 22, 24, 25 and 22 for a 93 and two-time national champion Mairaj Ahmed Khan recovering from a 21 to shoot scores of 25, 23 and 23 for a 92, India pipped England by one point. Quite pleased with the ‘‘wonderful'' experience of winning an international gold, Arozepal Singh said that he was yet to tune to his best form and looked forward to shooting better scores in the individual competition over the next two days. He did finish with the bronze badge, with the second best score, one point behind Michael Wilson of New Zealand, after enduring the tie-shoot with two others, but Arozepal Singh said that he would keep it simple in the individual event, and go station by station to improve his fare, rather than look for medals.
Mairaj Khan said that he was in good form and hoped to build on the sound platform for better scores to eventually win a medal in the Commonwealth Games. Having shot 118 out of 125 in the Asian Championship at Jaipur in 2008, he has trained his sight on breaking the 120 barrier.
Arti Singh pulled the Indian women's team to the silver, with rounds of 21 and 24 after new comer Rashmee Rathore shot 21 and 17. The seasoned Arti who had finished runner-up to her famous Chinese coach, Zhang Shan, the Barcelona Olympics gold medallist, in the Asian Clay shooting championship last September said that the Indian trio, with Saniya Shaikh (37) as the third member, would attempt to win more medals in the individual event on the morrow.
India failed to win a medal in women's rifle prone event, as the team tallied 1171 points, three short of the bronze medal score. India took its medals tally to 18 gold, 13 silver and six bronze, to stay miles ahead of the rest of the pack.
The results (team): Men: Skeet: 1. India (Arozepal Singh 93, Mairaj Ahmad Khan 92) 185; 2. England (Rory Warlow 93, Craig Lakey 91) 184; 3. Bangladesh (Iqbal Islam 90, Nooruddin Salim 85) 175.
Women: 50m rifle prone: 1. Scotland (Jennifer Mcintosh 592, Sheena Sharp 588) 1178 (NMR); 2. England (Michele Smith 591, Sharon Lee 588) 1177; 3. Wales (Johanne Breke 588, Helen Warnes 586) 1174; 5. India (Lajja Gauswami 587, Tejaswini Sawant 584) 1171.
Skeet: 1. England (Nicki Brocklesby 42, Prinky Le Grelle 42) 84; 2. India (Arti Singh 45, Rashmee Rathore 38) 83; 3. Wales (Elena Allen 48, Cerys Evan 31) 79.