Manavjit beats Birendeep in shoot-off in trap

Chain Singh of the Army handled a tricky climax with competence as he beat World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra by 2.2 points for the gold in men’s air rifle in the Sahara 56th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, in New Delhi on Saturday.

Having enjoyed a three-point lead over Bindra, the 23-year-old Chain who had shot 594 in qualification, said that he was confident of winning the gold, even when the lead had been reduced to 1.3 points after five shots, and 1.1 before the last shot. Chain was able to clinch it with a 10.4 last shot, even as Bindra came up with an uncharacteristic 9.3, his only shot below 10 in the final.

“It is great to beat the champions in such a competition”, said Chain, who had won a junior bronze in the Asian championship in Doha in 2009.

“I had the chance, but I wasted my luck. I am trying to get used to the new rules and new equipment. I shot 623.4 in qualification as per the new rule, and Chain Singh had 617”, said Bindra, who had a total of 103.2 in the final, despite the bad last shot.

Best shot

Satyendra Singh shot the best in the final with a total of 104.1 and that helped him pull ahead of birthday boy, P.T. Raghunath of Navy, the former Asian champion, for the bronze medal, a mere 0.1 point behind Bindra.

In trap, Asian champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu beat Birendeep Sodhi 3-2 in the shoot-off for the gold after the two had tied at 139. Manavjit was marching to the gold alone before he lost the 23rd bird.

“It is one shot in the shoot-off and it could have gone either way. I was not sure, but am happy. I was happy to shoot 22 in the final despite fever and a lot of medication”, said Manavjit, emphasising that the National championship was a high priority event for him. He announced that his target for the next season would be to stay in the top-5 of the world.

“This is my first competition after the last National championship in February. This is a good start”, said Birendeep, who married and took a break from the sport.

Though he shot the best in the final with a round of 23, Birendeep said that he knew that Manavjit would win the gold because of his rich experience and great form.

Mansher Singh led the field with 118, but missed six birds in the final to lose the bronze by one point to Zoravar Singh Sandhu.

Army, with a battery of foreign coaches training the shooters, had a lot to cheer, as Om Prakash won the 50-metre free pistol gold, two points ahead of Gurpal Singh, after having enjoyed a five-point lead before the final.

P.N. Prakash who had shot 553 in qualification, the second best score, finished sixth owing to a total of 84.8 in the final, 0.1 point ahead of Amit Kumar Pilaniya of BSF.

The results: Men: Air rifle: 1. Chain Singh 696.4 (594); 2. Abhinav Bindra 694.2 (591); 3. Satyendra Singh 694.1 (590).

Juniors: 1. Akhil Sheoran 590; 2. Aribam Dicky Sharma 589; 3. Saurabh 588.

50m free pistol: 1. Om Prakash 649.6 (556); 2. Gurpal Singh 647.6 (551); 3. Amanpreet Singh 644.5 (548). Juniors: 1. Manjit 536; 2. Akshay Jain 535; 3. Ajitesh Kaushal 535.

Trap: 1. Manavjit Singh Sandhu 139 (3) 117; 2. Birendeep Sodhi 139 (2) 116; 3. Zoravar Singh Sandhu 138 (118). Juniors: 1. G. S. Sharan 112; 2. Mohd. Shees 100 (2); 3. Adhiraj Singh Rathore 100 (1).

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