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The shots of a winner

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Gagan Narang finds his glorious mark, yet again

Hyderabad's Gagan Narang has been going great guns in the German Bundesliga over the past fortnight. The 10-metre air rifle world record holder's most recent exploit has been the defeat of Barbera Lechner, who is reputed to have scored a perfect 400/400. In their recent face-off, Lechner, scoring faster, was ahead 396/400. With 10 shots to go, Gagan fired a nine, which for champion shooters, is sub-standard. Although tired, the Guangzhou World Cup winner showed his mettle by scoring 10 on every subsequent shot to draw level with the German.

In the tie-shoot, an effort to break the deadlock, where the rivals are given two minutes preparation time and just one shot each, Lechner, perhaps cracking under pressure, could manage only 9.8. Gagan held his nerve, getting closer to bulls-eye with a 10.2, to emerge victorious. On the following day, Gagan overshadowed Hungarian Peter Sidi with a 398-396 victory. To sideline Sidi, winner of many international and Olympic titles, must have been a major shot in the arm for Gagan. While Sidi hovered around the 90s, Gagan piled the pressure on him by not slipping below the 100 mark. The Hyderabad crackshot, with a five out of five win record, has thus taken his team Affalterbach to the Bundesliga final, which will be held in Coburg in February.

While acknowledging the support of his sponsor Olympic Gold Quest, the Indian Government, the National Rifle Association of India and Sahara, he said the season meant good preparation with the new equipment he has begun using.

A. JOSEPH ANTONY

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