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Sonia overcomes strong field, clinches gold



Updated On - Tuesday, 03 September 2013

1 September 2013

Sonia Rai did it yet again as she overcame a strong field that included World Cup gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat, in clinching the gold on the last shot in women’s 25-metre sports pistol on the opening day of the 10th Sardar Sajjan Singh Sethi Masters shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

The 32-year-old Sonia, who has the distinction of being the first Indian pistol shooter to win a World Cup medal which she accomplished in Resende, Brazil, in 2006, pipped Olympian Annu Raj Singh 8-6 in a gripping final. She had enacted a similar drama to clinch the gold from the sixth place in the All India Kumar Surendra Singh Championship last month.

Having qualified in the seventh place, with a modest 565, Sonia topped the semifinalists with a score of 12 along with Annu Raj to qualify for the gold medal contest.

She started the final well, but trailed 2-6 at one stage as Annu Raj kept beating her in three successive five-shot series. Sonia won the next three series on the trot, and came up with an exact 10.3 last shot to clinch the gold.

Anisa Sayyed, who topped the qualifiers with 579, had to be content with the bronze as she beat national champion Sushma Singh. The latter edged out Rahi Sarnobat in the shoot-off 6-4, for the bronze medal match, after the two had tied on 10 points in the semifinals.

In men’s air rifle, Ravi Kumar of Air Force continued to assert himself, as he beat Aribam Dicky Sharma of Army 208.2 to 205.9. He had topped the qualifiers with a score of 620.4. Akhil Sheoran was close on the heels of Ravi Kumar, but slipped with his 17th shot of 9.2, and had to settle for the silver.

National champion Chain Singh, who had pipped World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra for the gold in December, failed to release his ninth shot in the stipulated 50 seconds in the final, and thus was relegated to the seventh spot. In men’s 50-metre free pistol, Jitu Rai of Navy stayed much ahead of the pack both in qualification and final, while Dharmendra Singh pipped Amit Kumar Pilaniya for the silver.

The seasoned Amanpreet Singh and Omkar Singh crashed to the sixth and eighth spots respectively.

The results: Men: Air rifle: 1. Ravi Kumar 208.2 (620.4); 2. Aribam Dicky Sharma 205.9 (617.4); 3. Akhil Sheoran 184.7 (618.1). Juniors: 1. Akhil Sheoran 618.1; 2. Rahul Vaidwan 612.4; 3. Saurabh 610.4. Youth: 1. Pratik Borse 610.7; 2. B. Mithlesh 605.4; 3. Gaurav Kumar 603.0. Free pistol: 1. Jitu Rai 192.7 (559); 2. Dharmendra Singh 186.6 (543); 3. Amit Kumar Pilaniya 166.2 (554). Juniors:1. Ajitesh Kaushal 540; 2. Arun 532; 3. Karan Pratap Singh Randhawa 526.

Women: Sports pistol: 1. Sonia Rai 8 (12) 565; 2. Annu Raj Singh 6 (12) 565; 3. Anisa Sayyed 7 (11) 579. Juniors: 1. Shreya Gawande 559; 2. Ruchi Singh 553; 3. P. Shri Nivetha 551.

Published by: The Hindu

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