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Prakash, Malaika strike gold

Kamesh Srinivasan
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Bull’s eye:It was an impressive show from Prakash Nanjappa, who had been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, to win the 50m free pistol gold.— Photo: Saneep Saxena
Bull’s eye:It was an impressive show from Prakash Nanjappa, who had been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, to win the 50m free pistol gold.— Photo: Saneep Saxena

Malaika Goel overcame her inexperience to shoot the women’s air pistol gold, and Prakash Nanjappa suppressed the problems of his aiming eye to bag the men’s free pistol gold, in the 57th National shooting championship, at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, here on Friday.

The 16-year-old Malaika, a eleventh standard student of Alpine School in Ludhiana, and coached by Gurjeet Singh, was spectacular in shooting 201.1 in the final as she beat the seasoned Harveen Srao by 5.3 points for the gold, in a particularly strong field in which Olympians Heena Sidhu and Annu Raj Singh failed to make the final.

Malaikaswept the junior and youth gold medals as well, on the basis of her qualification score of 385 that had placed her second in qualification for the women’s final.

Rahi Sarnobat had topped the qualifiers with a score of 387 but missed a medal as she was the second to be eliminated.

“I knew I had to do well, as next year has the Commonwealth and Asian Games’’, said Malaika who recovered from a slightly shaky start in the final to stay in the lead after eight shots.

It was an impressive performance from Prakash Nanjappa, as he struggled with the dryness of his ‘aiming eye,’ to shoot the best in the 50-metre free pistol final.

The 37-year-old Karnataka lad had briefly lost the lead after 12 shots to Jitu Rai, but the latter messed up his chances with shots of 6.2 and 7.3 that saw him being placed fourth eventually.

Prakash credited physiotherapist Nikhil Latey for helping him control the muscle spasm when he was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, that saw him miss a World Cup.

“I changed my stance. It was a major risk, but I had to do it as there was no time ahead,’’ said Prakash.

Prakash said that it was tough during the qualification on Thursday owing to windy conditions and was glad that the weather was clear during the final.

The results: Men: 50m free pistol: 1. Prakash Nanjappa 190.2 (550); 2. Kapil Kumar 186.3 (547); 3. Gurpal Singh 166.0 (546).

Juniors: 1. Sukhwinder Singh 549; 2. Kapil Kumar 547; 3. Prashant Malik 540.

Women: 10m air pistol: 1. Malaika Goel 201.1 (385); 2. Harveen Srao

195.8 (380); 3. Shreya Gawande 174.5 (379).

Juniors: 1. Malaika Goel 385; 2. Nayani Bhardwaj 380; 3. Shreya Gawande 379.

Youth: 1. Malaika Goel 385; 2. Nayani Bhardwaj 380; 3. Gauri Sheoran 377.

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