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Aussie tutor gives Indian pupil a master class

Rathore and Vikram Bhatnagar won the silver in men's double trap pairs shooting event at the 18th Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2006 12:49 IST

Russell Mark returned to competitive shooting after four years to lead Australia to gold in the Commonwealth Games men's Double Trap Pairs here on Sunday.

Mark teamed up with Craig Trembath to set a new Games record of 186 points, surpassing by two what his former Indian pupil Rajyavardhan Rathore's team shot in Manchester fours years ago.

Mark, who coached Rathore to an Olympic silver medal in Athens in 2004, returned with higher scores than the Indian army officer at the Lilydale ranges.

The Indians finished with 179 with Rathore shooting two best-of-50 rounds of 45 and 44 and his partner Vikram Bhatnagar ending with 46 and 44.

Mark's scores were 47 and 46 while Trembath returned with 46 and 47 to set up a convincing victory.

The bronze went to England's Richard Faulds and Steven Walton for a combined score of 176.

Mark, who at 42 is six years older than Rathore, said winning his first Commonwealth Games gold medal was a very special moment.

"It feels good because this was the one thing that eluded me," said the man who has won every major title including the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.

His partner Trembath dismissed speculation that Mark will retire for good after the Games.
"I will not let him (retire)," he said. "He may have won everything but there is nothing wrong in winning everything twice."

Rathore, who fought militants in the troubled Kashmir valley before concentrating on competitive shooting, gets another chance to outwit his tutor in Thursday's individual event.

"Mark showed today what a champion he is," the Indian said. "We can all take a lesson from him."

India and Australia, who are expected to corner a majority of the 40 shooting gold medals on offer, are involved in a fascinating race on the ranges.

In the 16 events held so far, India have won six golds, Australia five, England four and Scotland one.

India bagged their sixth gold when Vijay Kumar and Pemba Tamang won the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol pairs event. Australia took the silver and Canada won the bronze.

England, meanwhile, pipped India by a point to win the women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions Pairs gold medal.

Louise Minett and Becky Spicer shot a combined total of 1,143, equalling Canada's Games record set at home in Victoria in 1994, while the Indian duo of Anjali Bhagwat and Anuja Jung finished with 1,142.

Malaysia's Nur Suryani and Nurul Hudda won the bronze with 1,140 ahead of Australia and New Zealand.

The English pair of Charlotte Kerwood and Rachel Parish took the women's Double Trap with 134 points, 11 ahead of second-placed Cynthia Barbara and Susan Nattrass of Canada.

Australia took the women's 10m Air Pistol Pairs gold through Dina Aspandiyarova and Lalita Yauhleuskaya, who finished with 770 points.

The Malaysian duo of Bibiana Ng and Joseline Cheah won the silver and England's Georgina Geikie and Julia Lydall grabbed the bronze.

In the Open Full Bore Pairs event, England's Glyn Barnett and Parag Patel won the gold, Australia took the silver and Malaysia's Abidin Zainal and Hamsan Zulkeflee got the bronze.

First Published: Mar 19, 2006 08:40 IST