New shooters continued to prevail over established stars at the Shooting Nationals in what could be a trailer to Indian shooting’s post-Tokyo 2020 era. The previously completed events at the ongoing Nationals also saw international shooters being eclipsed by emerging ones.
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 Rifle
Rajshree Anilkumar Sancheti of Delhi hit just one shot below 10 on her way to winning gold in the Women’s 10m AR finals. Her final score of 251.8 was comfortably ahead of 2nd-placed Zeena Khitta’s 250.1. Shreya Agrawal representing MP finished 3rd. Himachal’s Zeena had won the Nationals in this same event back in December 2019.
While Zeena and Shreya have represented India in international tournaments before, Rajshree is a new name. Haryana’s Ramita, the bronze medalist at this year’s World Juniors, finished 5th in the finals.
Shreya topped qualifications with an impressive 631.4. Aayushi Gupta of UP, who finished 4th in the finals, qualified in 2nd place with 630.1. Rajshree qualified 4th with 628.9 while Zeena (627.4) qualified 8th. The Tokyo 2020 qualification cut-off was 628.5.
The shooters who did not qualify for the finals included Elavenil Valarivan (12th with 626.8), Mehuli Ghosh (24th with 625), Anjum Moudgil (35th with 623.8) and Apurvi Chandela (a lowly 164th with 617.3). Others who did well in the Trials held in August 2021 but failed to qualify here included Ayonika Paul, Shriyanka Sadangi and Nisha Kanwar.
Junior and Youth
R. Narmada Nithin of Tamil Nadu won the Junior title with a new NSCC Record of 252.1 in the finals. Zeena had to be content with 2nd place again while Pahuni Pawar of Karnataka was 3rd. Both Narmada (627.5) and Pahuni (627.7) had also qualified for the Senior finals where they finished 6th and 7th respectively.
Anshika Gupta of MP clinched the Youth title with a score of 250.4 that was 0.5 points ahead of 2nd-placed Ramita’s 249.9. Maharashtra’s Mansi Harishchandra Pansare finished 3rd. Both Anshika and Mansi scored identical scores of 625.8 in qualifications whereas Ramita scored 628.3.
Suhani Umesh Rane of West Bengal topped the Sub-Youth qualifications with a good 629.5 but was eliminated early in each of the three finals.
Team Madhya Pradesh (Shreya, Anshika, Mansi Kathait) won the Team title with a combined score of 1884.2. Punjab (Jasmeen Kaur, Khushi Saini, Anjum) were 2nd with 1876.1 and Rajasthan (Nisha, Manini Kaushik, Atmika Gupta) were 3rd with 1874.5.
10m Air Pistol Mixed
Punjab’s team of Arjun Singh Cheema and Arshdeep Kaur defeated the more fancied UP team of Saurabh Chaudhary and Devanshi Dhama by a close margin of 17-15 in the 10m AP Mixed gold medal match.
The Railways team of Arjun Das and Ruchita Vinerkar defeated Tamil Nadu’s Ravi Varma Illa and Shri Nivetha P. 16-8 in the bronze match.
Qualification 1 was topped by the ONGC team of Shweta Singh (288-15x) and Amanpreet Singh (288-12x) with a combined score of 576-27x. They however finished 7th in Qualification 2. Punjab (568-12x; Arjun 287-6x, Arshdeep 281-6x) were 6th in Q1 while UP (572-21x; Saurabh 291-12x, Devanshi 281-9x) were 3rd and Railways (569-13x; Arjun 285-4x, Ruchita 284-9x) were 5th. The Q1 cut-off was 566-14x while at Tokyo 2020 it was 575-18x.
The only other 290+ scores in Q1 besides Saurabh were Esha Singh of Telangana (291-8x) and Manu Bhaker of Haryana (290-9x).
Punjab topped Q2 with 385-14x UP scored 384-13x with Saurabh scoring 196-6x. TN were 4th with 383-12x. The Tokyo 2020 cut-off was 384-11x. Perhaps the biggest surprise was Haryana comprised of Tokyo Olympians Manu and Abhishek Verma not making it to the medal rounds. The team finished 6th with a score of 379-9x (Manu 192-5x, Abhishek 187-4x).
Junior and Youth
Hayana though did win the Junior title while UP had to settle for silver yet again. The team comprised of Rhythm Sangwan and new National Champion Sarabjot Singh defeated the Saurabh-Devanshi team by a scoreline of 16-8.
Esha Singh and Kaushik Gopu won bronze for Telangana. The duo defeated Karnataka’s Priya Muralidhar and Gursimran Singh 16-6 in the bronze match.
Haryana (575), UP (573), Telangana (570) were the top 3 in Q1 as well while Karnataka were 8th with 562. UP topped Q2 with 385-10x.
Siblings Shiva and Shikha Narwal of Haryana comfortably won 16-2 over Maharashtra’s Varidhi Goray and Tejas Prakash Dhere in the 10m AP Mixed Youth finals. This was yet another title in the ongoing Nationals for Shiva as he had won the Junior and Youth Men’s 10m AP golds as well as the Senior 10m AP silver.
Monu Kumar and Devanshi of UP won the bronze with a comprehensive margin of 16-0 against Gujarat’s Vidhi Vaghela and Manav Patel.
Haryana had topped both Q1 and Q2 with 575 and 383 respectively. Shiva scored 292-10x in the former.
UP’s Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Areeba Khan prevailed over Punjab’s Gurjoat Singh and Ganemat Sekhon after a shoot-off had to be held to determine the winner of the Mixed Skeet event. Both teams were tied at 34 in the finals but UP won 4-3 in the shoot-off.
Team Rajasthan comprised of Anantjeet Singh Naruka and new National Champion Darshna Rathore defeated the Haryana team of Raiza Dhillon and Arjun Singh Mann by a score of 36-34 in the bronze match.
In the Junior event, Telangana’s Zahra Mufadda Deesawala and Munek Battula won 4-3 in the shoot-off against Haryana’s Sanjana Sood and Ishaan Singh. Both teams were tied at 32 points.
Punjab’s Abhay Singh Sekhon and Parinaaz Dhaliwal easily won 33-24 against MP’s Rituraj Singh Bundela and Vanshika Tiwari in the bronze match.
Men’s 25m Standard Pistol
Vijayveer Sidhu of Punjab won the non-Olympic Men’s 25m Standard Pistol title by scoring 581-19x in the qualifications. Sameer (577-16x)of Haryana and Harsh Gupta (575-17x) of Delhi were 2nd and 3rd respectively. No finals were held for this event. Vijayveer had also won the 25m Sport Pistol Junior title earlier in the Nationals.