Major Praveen Dahiya came up with a perfect round of 50, in the full bore event (500 yards) session of the Queen's Prize competition in the Commonwealth shooting at the CRPF range, Kadarpur, here on Wednesday.
Having shot a score of 48 at 300 yards, Major Dahiya was keen to pull the team up from its eighth position, and was quite pleased with his execution.
“It was a good session today, and I hope to repeat it tomorrow,” said the army Major based at Mhow, quite modest about his effort, despite the fact that it was the first time ever that an Indian pair was competing in the event and shooting at such a distance in an international competition.
“The dusty atmosphere made it difficult, and the numbers below the targets were not clear at times. We had to actually count from the left, to aim the correct target,” said Major Dahiya, who was assigned target No. 5.
The Indian team was unable to lift itself from the eighth spot, as Major Amit Khanna came up with a round of 44, a fall from the 47 that he had accomplished a day earlier.
“There is no room for celebration or feeling sad about the scores.
“We have to keep at it, as it is a challenge every time you take aim as there are so many factors involved,” said Major Dahiya, placed at 15 from among 22 in the badge event, an individual listing of the shooters of the pairs competition.
South Africa jumped into the lead after the second phase of the competition with a perfect score of 200, through Petrus Hassbroek and Jan Jonck. New Zealand and Australia followed with 199 each, while Whales (197), Malaysia, Northern Ireland and Jersey (196) figured above India (187).
As the distance of the target increases to 600, 900 and 1000 yards over the next three days, the equations may change dramatically. The Indian shooters are determined to avoid the wooden spoon at least.
In the individual event, it was the Australians James Corbett and Geoffrey Grenfell along with Gareth Morris of Wales who led with perfect rounds of 170, after 34 shots spread over two days and two distances of 300 and 500 yards.
James Paton of Canada, David Calvert of Northern Ireland and Petrus Hassbroek of South Africa were following one point behind, in a field of 20.
The president of the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Graeme Hudson acknowledged the cooperation of the shooters towards tackling the change in schedule.