Steven Scott of England stopped the Indian shooters from making a sweep of the gold medals as the former World junior champion bagged the double trap gold with a score of 187 in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship at the Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Sunday.
On a day when India won three gold medals, including the rapid fire pistol gold unchallenged as the host was the only team in the fray, the 24-year-old Scott, a carpenter by profession, came up with a brilliant performance to push the Indian marksmen Mohammed Ashab and Vikram Bhatnagar to less shiny medals.
The two-time European champion, including once as a junior, Scott came up with a 47 out of 50 in the final, after having led the six finalists with a qualification score of 140 following rounds of 48, 48 and 44.
Ashab looked capable of causing a coup once again as he trailed by a point going into the final, the same status as Vikram Bhatnagar and two others, Peter Wilson of England and Nicholas Kirley of Australia, who all had 139. Two-time World champion and Olympic champion Russell Mark of Australia had failed to make the final with a total of 132.
In the final, Ashab dropped the sixth, 16th, 18th and 30th birds, as against three by the eventual champion. A couple of delayed breaks of the flash birds proved lucky for Bhatnagar in helping him take the bronze one point ahead of Kirley.
The Indian air pistol shooters, Samaresh Jung and the young Zakir Khan captured the pairs gold following identical scores of 579, and beat the seasoned Englishmen Michael Gault and Nick Baxter by a 21-point margin.
Omkar Singh, not part of the two-member Indian team, served a warning to the rest of the field by topping the list for the golden badge with a National record-equalling score of 586, following rounds of 96, 98, 99, 98, 96, 99. It was a welcome sign before the Individual event at the beginning of a heavy season.
In the women's rifle 3-position event, Meena Kumari captured the gold, 1.2 points ahead of compatriot Lajja Gauswami, after having enjoyed a two-point lead before the final.
Tejaswini Sawant had technical problems with her lane and her rifle, but overcame the hurdles to shoot the best final among the eight competitors to eventually take the fifth spot.
At the 25-metre range, it was a farce, as India was the only team in fray.
It was ironic that in a team competition, featuring four shooters, Jonathon Patron of Gibraltor, the only foreigner, had to retire before the start with a malfunctioning pistol during the ‘sighter' series itself.
Vijay Kumar, a silver medallist in the Beijing World Cup last year, shot 588 out of 600, incidentally bettering his own National record of 586, to emphasise his undisputed class, but the championship itself lost a lot of sheen and credibility when the medal was awarded to India, despite there being no second team.
It was also a new meet record as Kumar, along with Pemba Tamang (564), made a total of 1,152, bettering a five-year mark of 1,123 set by Tamang and Ramkishan Yadav.
At the end of three days, India leads with nine gold, five silver and three bronze medals, while England follows a distant second with two gold, three silver and three bronze. Australia is yet to sight a gold, but has won three silver and three bronze. Scotland is the only other team to win a gold medal.
The results: Men: 10m air pistol (team): 1. India (Zakir Khan 579, Samaresh Jung 579) 1,158; 2. England (Michael Gault 571, Nick Baxter 566) 1,137; 3. Australia (Christopher Roberts 568, Alfio Casagrande 559) 1,127. 25m rapid fire pistol (team): 1. India (Vijay Kumar 588, Pemba Tamang 564) 1,152 (NMR). Double trap: 1. Steven Scott (Eng) 187 (140); 2. Mohammed Ashab 185 (139); 3. Vikram Bhatnagar 183 (139); 6. Ajay Mittal 181 (137).
Women: 50m rifle 3-position: 1. Meena Kumari 671.9 (575); 2. Lajja Gauswami 670.7 (573); 3. Sharon Lee (Eng) 666.8 (571); 5. Tejaswini Sawant 663.4 (565).