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Indian shooting?s finest hour

Indian shooters have found a happy hunting ground in Zagreb, reports S Kannan. Why this sudden medal rain?
None | By S Kannan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 28, 2006 03:29 AM IST

Indian shooters have found a happy hunting ground in Zagreb. Three days after Abhinav Bindra won the 10-m air rifle event, Delhi's Manavjit Singh Sandhu clinched the gold in the trap event at the ISSF World Championship being held in the Croatian city on Thursday.

Few had expected Manavjit would score a 143/150 when he made it to the final as the last man in. Just before that, the Indian trap team won the silver with 360/375. Manavjit did it with Mansher Singh and Anwer Sultan.

"This has been an incredible year for me. I won a quota place (for Olympics) two months ago and this gold medal is simply awesome," Manavjit told HT. "As a youngster, I grew hearing about Maharaja Karni Singh's trap silver in Cairo (1962). To be honest, I never imagined one day I'd be on such a big stage and doing my country proud."

The final was all about pressure. "I've been training very hard and paced myself well. In fact, Burkin Pavel (Russia) went into the final with a two-point lead. I just had to focus and I handled the pressure better than him," he said.

So why are Indian shooters suddenly doing so well? Training facilities have not changed much, but attitude has. "There's no point complaining about what we don't have. What we shooters are doing is giving hundred per cent," said Manavjit.

Manavjit's father Gurbir Singh himself was a shooter who had represented India in trap. "Let Manav come back, we will have a huge party," he said.

Not that celebrations have not started at their Vasant Kunj home.

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