After seeing days of new shooters trump established ones, the Shooting Nationals finally witnessed familiar names Manu Bhaker and Esha Singh emerge triumphant through the Women’s 10m Air Pistol competition.
The 64th National Shooting Championships organised by the NRAI are being simultaneously held at New Delhi (Pistol), Bhopal (Rifle) and Patiala (Shotgun).
Women’s 10m Air Pistol
A flurry of 10s near the end helped Haryana’s Manu Bhaker win the Senior National Title in Women’s 10m Air Pistol. Tamil Nadu’s Shri Nivetha P. kept the pressure on Manu with her own series of 10s in the middle of the match and even got into the lead at times. Her challenge fizzled out after the eighth series where she scored four consecutive 9s in face of a 10.5, 10.1, 10.6 and 9.7 from Manu.
Manu finished with a score of 241.6 while Shri Nivetha ended up with 239.9. Esha Singh of Telangana won bronze.
Esha (582-17x) was first in qualifications placing just ahead of Shri Nivetha with 581-22x. Ruchita Vinerkar (578-16x) representing Railways, who finished 4th in the finals, was the only other shooter to score more than the Tokyo 2020 cut-off of 577-15x. Manu was 5th with 576-17x while 8th place went to 575-17x.
Yashaswini Singh Deswal, the other Olympian 10m AP shooter besides Manu, finished 18th with 570-14x. Manu and Yashaswini had scored 575-14x and 574-11x respectively at Tokyo.
Junior and Youth
Esha Singh was the star of the show as far as the Junior and Youth events of Women’s 10m AP are concerned.
Her Junior finals score of 240.7 was well ahead of 2nd-placed Devanshi Dhama’s 237.9. Tejaswani of Haryana was 3rd. Manu was eliminated 5th after a couple of 8s halted her challenge.
The Youth podium also comprised of the trio of Esha, Tejaswani and Devanshi. This time it was Tejaswani who got silver with 237.9 while Devanshi of UP finished 3rd. Esha won the event with a score of 240.3.
Devanshi had qualified for the Senior finals as well with a score of 576-17x but was eliminated 6th there. She also won 2 silvers and a bronze in 10m AP Mixed competition. Tejaswani (574-22x) just missed out on qualifying for the Senior finals with a 9th place finish. Esha had earlier won bronze in AP Mixed Junior.
Navya of Haryana topped the Sub Youth standings with a score of 572-20x.
Uttar Pradesh (Devanshi Dhama, Yuvika Tomar, Manisha Pal) won the Team title with a combined score of 1717-43x. Railways (Ruchita Vinerkar, Padma D., Sahebani Oram) were 2nd with 1705-37x while Karnataka (Priya Muralidhar, Divya TS, Rohita Gotety) were 3rd with 1699-46x. Haryana were 20th and last but could have potentially placed higher but for the non-participation of Rhythm Sangwan.
UP (Devanshi, Yuvika, Saumya Dhyani) also won the Junior Team title with 1692-38x ahead of Rajasthan (Aadhya Tayal, Kaushambika Chhilar, Anshika Kanwar) with 1686-35x and Punjab (Ishneet Aulakh, Navdeep Kaur, Arshdeep Kaur) with 1683-27x.
Team Maharashra (Anuskha Ravindra Patil, Sharvari Jitendra Bhoir, Janhavi Ranjeet Deshmukh) took the Youth title with 1683-42x. Delhi (Naamya Kapoor, Tanisha Dabodia, Meenal Yadav) were 2nd with 1679-30x and UP (Devanshi, Neeshu Khokher, Saumya Dhyani) were 3rd with 1675-35x.
Manu, aged 19, and Esha, aged 16, had won gold and silver in the ISSF World Junior Championships earlier this year. They both posted good scores in the 10m AP Mixed event earlier in the Nationals though their teams couldn’t progress further.
The Nationals result is a shot in the arm for Esha in particular. She is regarded as one of the most promising juniors in 10m AP and will likely be seen in bigger international competitions alongside Manu in 2022.
Men’s 25m Centre Fire Pistol
Mahaveer Singh (584-23x) of Rajasthan finished just marginally ahead of Punjab’s Vijayveer Sidhu (584-21x) to clinch the title in the non-Olympic Men’s 25m CFP event. Army’s Gurpreet Singh was 3rd with 583-18x. No finals were held for this event.