Samaresh Jung outclassed the field in bagging the air pistol gold with a record score in the Commonwealth shooting championship at the Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad on Monday.
After a sluggish start when he stumbled to a 93 out of 100 in the opening series, Samaresh stuck to the basics to come up with an impressive total of 583, which included a perfect round of 100 as well.
Despite having a seven-point lead over compatriot Zakir Khan, Samaresh still found the motivation to fire his best score in an international competition, as he logged 102.3 points in the 10-shot final.
Recalling the initial struggle, Samaresh stressed that he was happy to have regained his focus and shot a good score that was three short of his best.
He had shot 584 twice in World Cups, and a National record 586 in Hungary four years ago. Having finished 41st in the Beijing Olympics with a 570, Samaresh was happy to regain form, thanks to his training in recent times with a personal coach.
Despite winning his second gold, and getting ready for the standard pistol event, Samaresh said that he had no qualms in participating in the centre-fire pistol event on Tuesday, as a ‘zero shooter' to make the numbers, the way World record holder Ronjan Sodhi had done in double trap and former Asian champion Anwer Sultan in trap.
India added three gold and two silver medals to its kitty, to take its tally to 12 gold, eight silver and four bronze medals.
Zakir Khan was happy with silver, while Omkar Singh missed out on the bronze on the last shot to the seasoned Michael Gault of England.
Sanjeev Rajput was brilliant in the 50-metre free rifle 3-position pairs event, as he equalled his own National record of 1170 out of 1200. Once he shot 399 out of 400 in prone, National coach Prof. Sunny Thomas made sure that he locked the barrel-matching ammunition for Sanjeev to be used for the big competitions ahead in the season.
World Cup gold medallist Gagan Narang shot 1153, that was good enough for the team honours, his third successive gold, though he had missed a shot owing to bad quality ammunition.
World champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu guided the trap pairs team to the silver, three points behind Australia, that was spearheaded by Adam Vella, the Athens Games bronze medallist. While Birendeep Sodhi came up with a perfect last round of 25, Sandhu had blotted his impressive fare with a 22 in the fourth and final round.
In women's trap, Shreyasi Singh emphasised her growing stature, with a 42 out of 50, but a below par 36 from Shagun Chowdhary saw the Indian team finishing fifth among as many teams, missing a medal by four points.
Ironically, Seema Tomar, not part of the team, shot the best in the whole field with a 45, and could have helped the team to even the gold.
The results: Men: 10m air pistol: 1. Samaresh Jung 685.3 (NMR) 583 (EMR); 2. Zakir Khan 676.6 (576); 3. Michael Gault 675.1 (574); 4. Omkar Singh 674.3 (575). 25m rapid fire pistol: 1. Vijay Kumar 775.0 (NMR) 581 (NMR); 2. Gurpreet Singh 774.1 (581); 3. Pemba Tamang 756.5 (574). 50m free rifle 3-position (team): 1. India (Sanjeev Rajput 1170, Gagan Narang 1153)2323 (NMR), 2. England (James Huckle 1158, Ken Parr jr. 1137) 2295; 3. Scotland (Graham Rudd 1135, Neil Stirton 1131) 2266. Trap (team): 1. Australia (Adam Vella 98, Michael McNabb 96) 194; 2. India (Manavjit Singh Sandhu 96, Birendeep Singh Sodhi 95) 191; 3. England (Aaron Heading 97, James Sole 85) 182.
Women: Trap (team): 1. England (Anita North 44, Charlotte Kerwood 43) 87; 2. Australia (Laetisha Scanlan 43, Catherine Skinner 42) 85; 3. Shona Marshall 42, Linda Pearson 40) 82; 5. India (Shreyasi Singh 42, Shagun Chaudhary 36) 78.