Moraad Ali Khan on Friday showed there was no substitute for experience. In windy conditions, Moraad shot a creditable 185 out of 200 to win the double trap gold in the National Shotgun Championship at the Karni Singh ranges in Tughlakabad.
For almost six months, Moraad has not been at the ranges. And after just five days' practice with his new Perazzi gun, he came out smoking, beginning with 139 out of 150 in the preliminary phase. In comparison, Ronjan Sodhi and Vikram Bhatnagar, just back from the Doha Asian Games, had scores of 134 and 128, respectively.
Once into the final, in fading light conditions, Moraad came good again with 46 out of 50 to aggregate 185 out of 200. Ronjan Sodhi and Vikram took silver and bronze with aggregates of 180 and 168, respectively.
Despite not practising, Moraad showed experience was a big factor as he towered above the rest in a field where RVS Rathore was missing. The Olympics silver medallist decided to skip the event.
"It is nice to come after a long break and shoot so well. This is the fourth time I am winning the double trap title in the event," said Moraad. He has won the trap at the Nationals thrice.
Does that mean Moraad is going to stage a comeback? "I know I can be consistent. But yes, if one is serious about winning an Olympic medal, one has to focus on shooting all the time. Unless some big sponsor comes along and tells me I just have to shoot, there is no way I can focus full-time on shooting," added Moraad, whose effort helped Uttar Pradesh win the team gold.
To be sure, for Ronjan Sodhi and Bhatnagar, it was tough to be shooting at the Nationals. "We have had a long year and shot in almost 18 competitions. But hats off to Moraad for a great showing,” said Sodhi.