After shooting down gold, Sanjeev Rajput aims to erase flaws

Sanjeev RajputSanjeev Rajput occasionally picks the brain of Olympic champ Campriani to work on his technique
It only took Sanjeev Rajput a couple of minutes to analyse his flaws after the end of the final match of three position event in the 57th National Shooting Championship on Monday. Rajput had just obliterated an eight-man field that included Gagan Narang. After numerous congratulatory hugs from fellow shooters and officials, and a few poses with young NCC cadets. The Navyman, though happy, pointed that he was a bit disappointed in the way he shot in the 45-shot final.

"I did not do well in the standing position. I have to rectify this," Rajput said after bagging the gold ahead of Narang with a clear lead of 7.5 points - Rajput totalled 456.1 points to Narang's 448.6. The Army's Chain Singh won bronze shooting 437.1.

Rajput, who doesn't have the luxury to call on a coach for guidance, will need to call on an illustrious friend in the field of sport shooting, if he is to iron out his flaws.

Not many can call the reigning Olympic champion Niccolo Campriani, who won the three positions gold as well as the silver medal in 10m air rifle at the London Olympics, a trusted friend and guide. Apart from the Italian, the Navyman can also call on the services — over a long phone conversation — of Serbian Nemanja Mirosavljev, who had won bronze in 2010 World Championships.

"I don't have a coach but I can call up few international shooters to get over my mistakes. I call Nemanja and Niccolo sometimes," he added.

But overall, he was satisfied with the end result. His qualification score of 1174 after three rounds of Kneeling, Prone and Standing, was also miles ahead of second placed Narang who could only muster 1159 points.

"I have been shooting well since the Granada World Cup (in July), where I shot 1173. At the Tehran Asian Airgun Championship, I had shot 1172 during the qualifications. So yes, I have gotten back to good scores in the latter part of this year," he explained. "Today's score is a base score. I need to get a coach that would use this and try to help me get better."

SODHI'S MAIDEN WIN

In the double trap, Ronjan Sodhi ended his 12-year run of near misses to win his maiden National gold medal by beating Ajay Mittal in the top-two play-off. The bronze was won by Mohammad Asab, who saw off Ankur Mittal 30-27 in the third-place shoot-off. Ronjan had been trying to win the elusive title since 2001, when he first took to the discipline.

Earlier, Sodhi had topped the final field of six with 28 out of 30 hits to stay in contention. Asab, who had topped the qualification with 133 floundered in the last few targets to slip into a three-way tie-shoot against Ajay and Ankur Mittal to make it to the gold medal matchm, after all three finished with 27 hits. In the tie-shoot, Asab was the first to drop into bronze medal and Ankur followed suit losing 2-1.

Though thrilled at breaking the jinx, Sodhi had sympathies for Asab, who slipped to third after leading the charts in qualifying. "Happy to break the jinx finally. I have been training really well for the finals and I shot well," the 34-year-old said. "Even though I benefited today, I am not convinced of starting the finals from scratch. Asab had a five-target lead over me and for him to win bronze is not fair."

Rathore pulls out of double trap final

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who was the defending champion in double trap, did not shoot in the final on Monday, despite being placed fourth with a total of 129 hits.

Rathore had completed all his five rounds of qualification on Sunday itself and then had given a written undertaking to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) that he should not be considered for the national core squad of double-trap team. And hence did not come for the final round at the Karni Singh range on Monday.

Rathore had told The Indian Express that he was very busy with campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections so the sport would take a back seat for this year.

"A lot of people has asked me whether I had retired from shooting. Well I haven't. It is just that after joining politics and with me involved in campaigning for the party, shooting will take a back seat this year. I will come back better prepared next year for sure."

–ENS

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