Favourites hold sway

BANGALORE Nov. 13. The final bullets are yet to be fired. However at the half way stage, the favourites held sway in the preliminary rounds of the National shooting championship that commenced at the J.N. Radhakrishna Memorial Shooting Complex here on Wednesday.

The opening salvos were fired in the two men's events — rifle prone and centre fire pistol.

Jaspal Rana, T.K. Sikdar, Satguru Das and Ronak Pandit figured in the leadings chart and may well extend their dominance when the final positions are announced on Thursday.

Jaspal, however, may find it tough as he drew par with Sikdar at 292 points each in the N25 centre fire pistol National event's half course stage.

The duo, who returned empty handed from the Busan Asian Games, do have a point to prove and their show in today's precision round hints at a hard battle in Thursday's duelling rounds.

"I did a lot of shooting this year and may be that affected my performance at the Asian Games. Things got messed up. Hopefully its over and I am looking forward to the Afro Asian Games,'' said Rana.

The 50m prone rifle National event pitted Satguru Das, A.P. Subbaiah and T.C. Palangappa. The trio had missed the bronze by a whisker in the Asian Games.

"The shooters from Kazakhstan and China were too good in the Asian Games. It was good that they could not figure in the earlier Commonwealth Games,'' said Palangappa who was placed third in the leadings list.

Satguru topped at 593 while A.P. Subbaiah (592) and Palangappa (589) and a close finish is the cards on Thursday. "The weather conditions with the inter-play of sun and the clouds did cause a few problems for us today,'' said Palangappa.

"Only half the shooters in a field of 54 have shot in the 50m prone event and the remaining participants will have their tenure tomorrow. At the moment Satguru is calling the shots,'' said Rajiv Bhatia, secretary, National Rifle Association of India.

Ronak Pandit led at the half course stage in the junior men N27 centre fire pistol National event with 285 points while hosts Karnataka had a glimmer of hope with Dhirender Singh leading the 50m rifle prone junior men event at 563 points.

The leading positions: 50m rifle prone National: Satguru Das (Navy), 593/600.

50m rifle prone: Sandip Kundu (West Bengal), 579/600.

50m rifle prone junior men National: Mukesh Kumar (Army), 583/600.

50m rifle prone junior men: Dhirender Singh (Karnataka), 563/600.

N25 centre fire pistol National: T.K. Sikdar (Navy) and Jaspal Rana (ONGC) both 292 at half course.

N26 centre fire pistol: Rajiv Sharma (Delhi), 280 half course.

N27 centre fire pistol junior men National: Ronak Pandit (Maharashtra), 285 half course.

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