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Perfect score for Manavjit in trap

other Updated: Feb 23, 2010 23:25 IST
Ajai Masand

Manavjit Singh Sandhu is a marksman who can lift his game several notches depending on the circumstances. On Tuesday at the Karni Singh Ranges, the tall world champion came up with an immaculate score of 75/75 to lead the field after the first day of the trap event at the Commonwealth Championships.

After average scores in the 'pairs' event on Monday, where India had to settle for silver behind Australia, Manavjit was in cracking form and notched up full points in the three rounds of 25 each to push Aussie Adam Velle (74) to second spot.

Birendeep Sodhi too seems to have come of age and it showed in his scores. The brother of double-trap world-record holder, Ronjan Sodhi, Birendeep was a close third with 73.

After two more rounds of qualification on Wednesday, the best six will move into the finals of 25 shots each. For a change, Sanjeev Rajput hogged the limelight. He clinched the 50m rifle 3-position gold with two Championship records and pushed his illustrious team-mate Gagan Narang to second spot (1168+101.1=1269.1).

Though the MCPO in the Navy (equivalent of Subedar in the Army) was way off his personal best of 1179, set in the elimination round in the Munich World Cup last year, it was still a world-class performance.

Rajput, who hails from Haryana and is based in Coimbatore, shot 1172 in qualification (a Championship record) and 100.9 in the finals to aggregate 1272.9, which was also a Championship record.

Bangladesh were the surprise package of the day, clinching the 10m air rifle pairs gold with an amazing performance on Tuesday. Ratna Sharmm Akhtar (396/400) and Sadiya Sultana (394) aggregated 790 for a Championship record and pushed India's Priya Aggarwal (393) and Neha Sapte (389) to second spot with 782.

Shreyasi disappoints

The women's individual trap gold went to Northern Ireland's Kirsty Barr, who aggregated 92/100, while India's Shreyasi Singh, who recently got the Sahara sponsorship, shot a miserable 17/25 in the final round to aggregate 89 and finish second.

She missed a whopping eight clay birds in the finals after shooting a creditable 72/75 in qualification.

The National Rifle Association of India's (NRAI) selection of shooters for the 'pairs' event has defied logic as the ones who have been kept out are doing far better than those included.

A sure gold was missed as Amanpreet Singh was kept out of the 'pairs' event in 50m free pistol, while Bapu Vanzare (536) and Viraj Singh (523) got the nod.

Had Amanpreet been there instead of Viraj, India would have finished miles ahead of England who bagged gold.

Similarly, had the experienced Seema Tomar been there in the trap 'pairs' event on Monday, instead of Shagun Chaudhary, India would have clinched gold rather than finishing fourth.

Two gold lost, but that's the way it is with NRAI's selection committee.