Manavjit Singh Sandhu’s explosive performance at the shooting ranges in Zagreb enabled not only got him an individual gold but also helped the country clinch the team silver at the ISSF World Championships.
While Manavjit aggregated 143 (121+22) for the gold, the Indian team totalled 360/375 after the preliminary phase to take silver. Mansher Singh (120/125) and Anwer Sultan's (119/125) were the other two in the team. Reflecting on the performance of his former teammates, Moraad Ali Khan said: “This is the best we could have expected. Winning medals at the World Championship is as tough as winning an Olympic medal.”
The previous best aggregate by an Indian trap team was 357 when Manavjit, Mansher and Moraad had won India a gold at the Asian Championship in Jakarta a decade back. There could have been more joy for the Indians but Mansher was ‘deprived’ of a quota place for the Olympic Games. There were three quota places up for grabs in trap at Zagreb. As four of the six finalists had already booked their quota places for Beijing 2008, a seventh shooter was going to get lucky. Mansher had a total of 120, the same as the seven other shooters.
But the organisers, instead of having a shoot-off to decide the quota place, used a ‘countback’ to decide it, and Mansher lost out to David Kostelecky of Czech Republic, who had a 25 in his last series.
Back to the competition on Thursday, Manavjit was lucky to make it to the final in the first place. He was involved in a tie-shoot and was two points behind Russia's Burkin Pavel, who had a 123 out of 150 after the prelim phase.
Everything boiled down to pressure, and Manavjit enjoyed it. "In the final, it's all shooting targets with the first barrel. So I had to be calm and it worked," said an elated Manavjit.