Beats Sepideh in shoot-off for silver

Shagun Chowdhary shot like a champion, but faltered at the final hurdle as she let the gold medal slip by one point in the women’s trap in the Asian shotgun championship at New Moti Bagh Gun Club here on Friday.

Yet, for the spectacular shooting in the final when she overshadowed everyone with a round of 23, Sarah Alhawal of Kuwait richly deserved the gold.

The 25-year-old won her maiden international medal, after having been placed fourth and sixth in the last two editions in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

She did give Shagun a glimmer of hope by missing the 23rd bird. But Shagun missed the last two birds, under pressure, while Sarah nailed them square to grab the gold.

It was a tremendous revival by the Kuwaiti after she had conceded a three-point lead to joint leaders Shagun and Sepideh Sirani of Iran, following a disastrous last round of 17 in qualifying earlier in the day.

Shagun too had grappled with her form in cold and gloomy conditions in the morning when she returned a score of 20, after having shot identical rounds of 22 on Thursday.

She recovered well to shoot the final in bright conditions before a bout of nerves spoilt her chances. “I allowed the gold to slip. But after going through the experience of shooting in the Olympics, I am better prepared to handle such competitions,” said Shagun, who clinched the shoot-off for the silver against Sepideh in the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Indian Open Grand Prix.

It was a particularly bad day for Sepideh as she missed 11 birds in the final, but managed to win the shoot-off for bronze against Varsha Tomar.

Three in joint lead

In men’s trap, two-time Asian Games champion Naser Meqlad, former world junior champion Abdulrahman Al Faihan of Kuwait and Shigetaka Oyama of Japan lead with 69 after the third round.Former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, along with Anirudh Singh and Prithviraj Tondaiman, are a point behind, with promise of a spectacular fight in the final two rounds of qualifying and the final on Saturday.

The results: Women: Trap: 1. Sarah Alhawal (Kuw) 84 (61); 2. Shagun Chowdhary 83 (64); 3. Sirani Sepideh (Iri) 78 (1); 4. Varsha Tomar 78 (0) 59; 7. Seema Tomar 54. MQS: Shreyasi Singh 61. Team: 1. India 177; 2. Iran 171; 3. Thailand 156.

Grand Prix: 1. Federica Caporuscio (Ita) 68; 2. Shagun Chowdhary 64 (1); 3. Sepideh Sirani (Iri) 64 (0); 4. Shreyasi Singh 61; 6. Varsha Tomar 59; 7. Snehlata Singh Rajawat 59; 9. Shikha Bhaduria 55; 11. Seema Tomar 54.

Team: 1. Iran 171; 2. India 168; 3. Thailand 156.

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