Major Rathore misses medal by a whisker

NEW DELHI, JULY 6. National double trap champion, Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, shot brilliantly in trying conditions, but missed a medal by one point in the Asian Clay Pigeon shooting championship in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday. With the backdrop of the lake making it difficult for the shooters, the medals were grabbed with low scores in the one day double-trap event. Rathore shot a 165 out of 200 and missed the bronze medal to Bin Yuan Hu of China, the Asian Games gold medallist. The Chinese pipped the Indian 42 to 41 in the final.

Rathore had made the final with a series of 42, 43 and 39, and two others, including the Chinese, were tied with him at 124 among the six finalists.

Mishfi Al Mutairi of Kuwait followed a 132 with a 46 in the final for the gold at 178. His compatriot, Hamad Al Afasi, who was crowned world champion in Cairo, shot the best in the final with a 47, but his preliminary score of 127 saw him take the silver, four points behind Mishfi.

The Olympic bronze medallist in Sydney, Kuwait's Fehaid Al Deehani, could not make the final as he finished with a 123, the same as the sixth-placed Hitomi Shimo of Japan. ``I was smashing the targets initially, and even came close to being No. 2 by one point. Towards the end, I lost the grip and the medal,'' said Rathore, who had missed making the final of the World Cup at Lonato recently by three points. He had then shot a 134, with an impressive series of 40, 48 and 46.

``The water background was tough on the shooters, as the targets were hardly visible. We needed phenomenal levels of concentration to shoot well. That speaks for the low scores,'' said Rathore, who had tallied 173 in retaining the National title at Bikaner in April.

Gaurav Sondhi had rounds of 39, 33 and 36 for a total of 108 that fetched him the joint 15th place, while Ronjan Sodhi improved after a poor start with rounds of 29, 32, 37 to take the 24th position with 98 points. Shooting for MQS, Syed Kshad Kazim scored 59, with rounds of 20, 20 and 19.

The Indian team, however, did well to finish fourth behind Kuwait, China and Chinese Taipei.

- Our Special Correspondent