Beijing Olympic Games gold-medallist, Abhinav Bindra (Punjab), faced touch challenge from Navy's PT Raghunath in 10m air rifle, on the opening day of the 56th National Shooting Championship at the Karni Singh Ranges on Thursday.
Both shot identical scores of 591 out of 600 in qualification to be in joint first place. The final of the event will be held on December 22 because of the large number of entries received by the organisers, the Haryana State Rifle Association.
With London Olympic Games bronze-medallist, Gagan Narang, pulling out because of a knee problem, Bindra might face little challenge on way to the national title.
Army's Ranjeet Singh was placed third with a score of 589. In trap, veteran Punjab marksman, Mansher Singh was joint leader with Birendeep Sodhi (Air India) and Anirudh Singh (UP) on 48 out of 50.
The final of the event will also be held on December 22 because of a "50% se in the number of entries in shotgun from the previous nationals", said organising secretary, Deep Bhatia.