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No stopping Samaresh

The stocky pistol marksman leads the charge as the hosts’ tally swells.

other Updated: Feb 22, 2010 23:16 IST
Ajai Masand

Samaresh Jung is neither flashy nor assertive off the range, but when he is inside the arena, the bespectacled pistol marksman is a formidable competitor.

On Monday at the Karni Singh Ranges, the Delhi marksman set a Commonwealth Championship record of 685.3, erasing Englishman Michael Gault's record of 681.5 set in New Zealand in 1999.

For the fourth consecutive day, India capitalised on the sparse field and bagged three gold to take their tally to 12.

After Sunday's episode, when the organisers were criticised for awarding gold to the rapid-fire (pairs) team of Vijay Kumar and Pemba Tamang despite they being the only competing side, there were murmurs after Vijay and Gurpreet Singh came late for the individual medals ceremony.

They arrived after a delay of five minutes and the organisers heaved a sigh of relief.

Once again, there were three competitors in the fray as the fourth marksman — Jonathon Patron — did not finish.

The Commonwealth Shooting Federation president, Graeme Hudson, agreed that competition could not be organised with less than six competitors, but “since they wanted to compete, we relaxed the rules and awarded them medals”.

Despite an 'ammunition malfunction', Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput bagged the pairs gold in 50m rifle 3-position, amassing 2323 points for a Championship record.

“I had an ammunition malfunction in the second series of 'standing position'. Perhaps the 'charge' on the ammo was too less and the bullet barely reached the target. I shot a zero. Thankfully, it happened here and not in the Olympics,” joked Narang. Despite the setback, the duo erased the previous mark of 2279 set by Sushil Ghalay and Rajput in 2005 (Australia).

The biggest disappointment of the day was India missing the trap gold. Australia's Adam Vella and Michael McNaab were in great form, aggregating 194 in the pairs to clinch gold, while Manavjit Singh Sandhu's average last (fourth) round of 22/25 pushed the team to second spot with 191 points.

Chaos at shotgun ranges

An unseemly controversy arose when three CRPF jawans reportedly locked their room from outside and went without handing over the keys to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

The room, incidentally, doubles up as the storehouse for clay pigeons. With the trap event scheduled to start at 10 am, there was reportedly some commotion and the locks had to be broken. Range administrator, Manmeet Singh Goindi, confirmed the incident.

“NRAI has been given charge of the room to store clay pigeons. We'll seek an explanation and recover the damages,” he said.