Lajja Gauswami finishes second 2.7 points behind

Army’s Raj Chaudhary outclassed a strong field with a total of 620.7 and beat World Cup silver medallist Lajja Gauswami by 2.7 points to clinch the women’s rifle prone gold in the 57th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad on Sunday.

On a slightly foggy morning, when visibility was not that good in the 50m range, the 27-year-old Raj consistently shot good rounds of 104.7, 104.0, 102.8, 102.4, 104.1 and 102.7 to clinch the top spot in a field of 80 shooters, that included World champion Tejaswini Sawant who was placed 25th with a total of 606.1.

Like many shooters, Raj came to know that the match would be shot with decimal scoring, as per the latest ISSF rules, only in the morning. However, having trained with shooters who have been following decimal scoring, it was not a problem for Raj.

She could not match her best training score of 623, but was quite pleased with her effort after having won gold in the Kumar Surendra Singh Championship earlier in the season.

“I have got a new rifle with which I shot the individual bronze in the 3-position event in the last Asian Air Gun championship in Tehran. I had good training with our Russian coach for the last two months to prepare for the National championship.

“It will be the foundation for next season, that has so many international competitions, and I am happy to have started so well,” said Raj.

More than winning gold, Raj was thrilled that she could convey her good performance to her husband Major Pankaj Kumar Mishra, who has been posted on the Siachen Glacier for the past two months and battling sub-zero temperatures.

Ruchira Arun Lawand of Railways bagged the bronze, ahead of former National champion Meena Kumari. Junior gold medallist Elizabeth Susan Koshy of Kerala was fifth ahead of Kuheli Gangulee and defending champion Deepali Deshpande.

Former World Championship bronze medallist Rajkumari Rathore was 16th, while Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anuja Jung was 18th.

Meanwhile in men’s air pistol, Parveen Kumar of Haryana led with a score of 579 following rounds of 97, 95, 95, 96, 96 and 100.

Jitu Rai (577), Neeraj Kumar (577), Samaresh Jung (576), Dharmendra Singh (576), Prakash Nanjappa (574), Gurpal Singh (574), Amit Kumar Pilaniya (572), Omkar Singh (572) were the others in the lead.

Some may not make the final as more shooters will compete on Monday in the qualification phase.

Defending champion Amanpreet Singh is already out of the race, with a score of 570.

Achal Pratap Singh Grewal (566) and Arjun Das (564) led in the juniors and youth sections respectively.

It may be noted that the final of men’s air pistol has been scheduled for Tuesday owing to high number of entries.

The results:

Women: 50m rifle prone: 1. Raj Chaudhary 620.7, 2. Lajja Gauswami 618, 3. Ruchira Arun Lawand 617.6;

Juniors: 1. Elizabeth Susan Koshy 615.2, 2. Jayashree Das 611.9, 3. Anjum Moudgil 609.8.

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