Shooting / Seema Tomar leads the field in the women's section
World champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu led with 73 out of 75, along with the seasoned Mansher Singh after three rounds of the trap event in the Sahara 54th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Thursday.
On a bright day and in pleasant weather conditions, that stood much in contrast to the heavy fog earlier in the morning, defending Champion Manavjit Sandhu came up with rounds of 25, 24 and 24. Champion many a time and the backbone of the national squad for the last two decades, Mansher had rounds of 24, 24 and 25, as the two leaders stayed a point ahead of Birendeep Sodhi who shot a sequence of 24, 25 and 23.
Commonwealth Youth champion, Kynan Chenai shot 72 following rounds of 24, 23 and 25, to stay in the hunt for a medal among the men, even as he stayed seven points ahead of the second best among the juniors. His father, Darius Chenai, a surprise champion in men's trap two years ago, when Kynan himself had won the junior crown, shot 68.
Former Asian champion Anwer Sultan recovered from a bad start to shoot 70, following rounds of 22, 24 and 24.
Sultan, the only Indian shooter to have qualified for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when rifle shooters Abhinav Bindra and Anjali Bhagwat had earned ‘hardship quotas', was not included in the Indian team for the recent Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. He will be keen to get back into the reckoning for national selection and bolster the strength of the squad with a good show on the morrow.
Vikram Deo Singh of the Army was also on 70, while Zoravar Singh Sandhu, who has not been able to pull his weight for the team's cause in the international competitions, was lurking close by at 69, as he shot increasingly well through the course of the day with rounds of 21, 23 and 25.
Anirudh Singh, who had shot a spectacular 122 out of 125 on way to the fourth place in the World Cup at Acapulco last season, fared below par with a 69, following identical rounds of 23. Having won the silver in the last edition, Anirudh will be eager to make it up in the last two rounds, when the competition intensifies in a strong field of 74. In the women's section, defending champion and World Cup silver medallist, Seema Tomar, stayed ahead of the pack with 68 out of 75, following scores of 23, 21 and 24.
Shagun Chaudhary was on 65 while Snehlata Singh was on 62, two points ahead of national record holder Shreyasi Singh and Varsha Tomar.
Shikha Bhadauria shot 53 to make the final as the last entrant, in a field of 12.
The women's final was originally scheduled for Thursday, but had to be postponed to Friday, owing to a backlog of competition on the ‘final' range.
Shreyasi Singh, who had won a double in the double trap competition, stayed on top among the juniors in the trap event, 10 points ahead of Asiya F. Khilji of Tamil Nadu while Varsha Varman of Madhya Pradesh bagged the bronze with a total of 42.