Getting the right feel of the range is half the job done for a shooter. World champion in trap, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, had sized up the Karni Singh Range on Tuesday, shooting a perfect score of 75/75.
On Wednesday, he carried on the good work, dropping just one shot in the two remaining qualification rounds of 25 each to aggregate 124/125 on way to a national record.
In the final round, the Delhi marksman was again in menacing form, shooting a 22 out of 25 on way to gold in the Commonwealth Championships with a total score of 146, again a national record.
The score could have been better had the light not deteriorated during the last three shots.
“A cloud obliterated the sun… it became difficult sighting the clay pigeons especially with no green backdrop for contrast. I missed a shot,” said Manavjit.
The marksman, who has been struggling for form since winning the quadrennial World Championship title in 2006 at Zagreb, said it was nice to start the year on a winning note. “This is the most crucial year with the World Cups, World Championship, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games lined up, so it's good to set the tone early.
“I made some changes to my technique last year and it seems to be paying off,” he said.
Manavjit went into the final round enjoying a four-point lead over England's Aaron Heading and Australia's Adam Vella.
“I knew I had a good lead. With the form complementing it, I won the title,” he said. Manavjit now leaves for the first ever shotgun World Cup in Acapulco (Mexico) next month.
‘Team to get clearance’
NRAI acting president, Avtar Singh Sethi, said the Sports Ministry would give clearance to the team for the Acapulco World Cup in a day's time.
The Government Observer (GO) for shooting had raised objections over the constitution of the team after the trials in Patiala late last year and New Delhi a few days ago.
“The ministry is satisfied with the team and procedures followed in selection. We told the ministry, if this squad is not cleared, the NRAI will not send team to any of the World Cups,” said Sethi.
“There will be no changes in the team composition for the first two World Cups and the Asian Championships,” he asserted.