Pemba Tamang won the centre fire pistol gold with a score of 582 in the Sahara 56th National shooting championship on Wednesday.
A subedar in the Army, and a pioneer in rapid fire pistol, Tamang outclassed the field, as he pushed Navy’s Harpreet Singh to the silver with a 100 in the last series to 95 by the latter. The 32-year-old from village Rupa in Arunachal Pradesh shot 295 in the ‘duelling’ session after having shot 287 in the precision series on Tuesday.
Gurpeet Singh had led with 291 in precision but could muster only 284 in rapid fire section and placed third, a point ahead of Omkar Singh, Samaresh Jung and Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar.
It was the second gold in the Nationals for Pemba, who had been pushed to the silver after being tied for the gold with Samaresh at the same venue two years ago.
Quite pleased to win the gold, Pemba said that he was shooting both centre fire pistol and rapid fire pistol with equal efficiency. “I was tied for the silver and bronze medals in the last Asian championship in Doha with a score of 583, but missed the bronze by one point in the shoot-off.” said Pemba, who had shot 47 in the tie-shoot.
“I was close to winning the Olympic quota in rapid fire pistol but was unlucky. After shooting 99 and 100, I had a series of 42 as I had a 7 and an 8.” said Pemba, quite happy that fellow army marksman Vijay Kumar got silver in London.
“I also could not go to one of the World Cups in China, owing to the problem of ‘stapled’ visa as I am from Arunachal Pradesh,” said Pemba. He was all praise for the Russian coach Pavel Smirnov, hired by army, for the overall improvement in standards.
Samarjit Singh, a ninth standard student of Doon School, clinched the junior gold, to improve upon his silver won in the sport pistol event in the last edition. Training at the Jaspal Rana Academy in Dehra Dun, Samarjit said that he was also being coached during the week-ends by his father Mukuljit Singh, apart from Narayan Singh Rana, father of Jaspal.
In women’s prone, Deepali Deshpande won the gold with a total of 590, one point ahead of Rajkumari Rathore, who had won the junior World Championship bronze in 2002. World champion Tejaswini Sawant was pushed to the fourth spot with a total of 587.
Quite busy with coaching the juniors and guiding them through the recent Asian Air gun championship in China, Deepali, who had competed in the Athens Olympics, hardly had any time to train and even entertained thoughts about withdrawing from the competition.
“I was in good form, and thus wanted to compete,” said Deepali, who was quick in making a trip to Agra with her family including 11-year-old daughter to celebrate the victory. She said that she would return in time to shoot the rifle 3-position event.
The chief coach of the country’s junior rifle team, Deepali was quite versatile at her prime, and has won 10 individual medals in the National championship in air rifle, sport rifle prone and 3-position events.
The results: Centre fire pistol: Men: 1. Pemba Tamang 582; 2. Harpreet Singh 577; 3. Gurpreet Singh 575. Juniors: 1. Samarjit Singh 561; 2. Ajitesh Kaushal 560; 3. Manpreet Singh 559.
Sport rifle prone: Women: 1. Deepali Deshpande 590; 2. Rajkumari Rathore 589; 3. Lajja Gauswami 588. Juniors: 1. Karuna Sagar 582 (31x); 2. Jayashree Das 582 (22x); 3.Tejaswini Muley 579.