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Narang stamps his class early

other Updated: Feb 19, 2010 23:17 IST
Ajai Masand
Ajai Masand
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Great guns are known to begin with a bang.

Jaspal Rana did so in the inaugural edition of the 1995 Commonwealth Shooting Championships, stopping only after he had polished off a record eight gold.

On Friday at the newly-refurbished Karni Singh Ranges in Tughlakabad, rifle marksman and world record older, Gagan Narang, started in identical fashion, squashing the opposition to win the 10m air rifle pairs event gold with a championship record to boot.

The sterling performance set the tone for the day as India's 25m sports pistol pair of Anisa Sayyed and Annuraj Singh clinched another gold, Bapu Vanzare/Viraj Singh bagged the 50m pistol pairs silver and the duo of Lajja Gauswami/Tejaswini Sawant added a bronze in 50m rifle three-position.

However, it was the pair of Narang (599/600) and PT Raghunath (594) who bagged the first gold of the championship — in style.

A multiple World Cup gold-medallist, Narang, shot the best score of the season and missed equalling the World Record by a point. That 'costly' miss came on the first shot of the first series. After that he had a trail of perfect 10s in all the shots he fired.

Narang and Raghunath's aggregate score of 1193 erased the previous championship mark of 1183 set by Narang-Manoj Kumar in 2005 at Australia. Not only that, Narang's individual score of 599 was also a championship record.

However, the ace Indian marksman was not willing to share his thoughts with the media, directing the queries to his coach, Stanislav Lapidus.

"Gagan is not in the highest condition of training right now, but he knows how to extract the best result from himself," said Lapidus, the foreign rifle coach.

Winners of the sports pistol pairs event, Anisa and Annuraj, were more forthcoming.

"My personal score was not all that good…but together we formed a good team," said Annuraj, who hails from Aligarh. "I hope to do better in the individual event tomorrow," said the Air India employee.

Sore point

The woefully low number of international competitors on Friday forced the organisers to include 9-10 "dummy/zero" shooters to fill up the lanes in order to ensure a proper competition.

"With the number of shooters falling short, some 9-10 marksmen from the host country have been included to occupy vacant slots.

“They will not be shooting for medals but only to make up the numbers," said an organising committee member here on Friday.

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