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Sanjeev Rajput stamps class in National Shooting trials

India’s Commonwealth Games champion Sanjeev Rajput stamped his authority in the men’s 50m rifle 3p, winning the first selection trials here at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges on Thursday.

The seasoned shooter scored 1181 in the qualification, to equal his national record set in 2016. He continued to assert his supremacy in the final scoring 459.9 points to stay ahead of Swapnil Kusale of Maharashtra, who shot 459.1 to finish second. Akhil Sheoran of Uttar Pradesh was third at 445.6 points.

“I could have done better,” said Rajput, after his match. “The last card in the qualification was 94. Could have shot 97 or 98 but for some error it cost me three-four points.”

The 50m rifle 3p event — consisting of kneeling, prone and standing positions, fired in that order — is considered a marathon event because of the duration (total shots 3×40). It tests endurance as well as mental capability of the shooter. Rajput said he felt lack of competition and sharpness since there hasn’t been any event in the last 12 months due to covid19, robbed him of improving his overall scores.

“I think two-three competitions should be good enough to set a new benchmark,” he explained.

High on confidence, he is ready for the second trials on Friday. “Staying focussed would be my main target tomorrow,” he said.

In the men’s skeet selection trials Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khand, both winners of the Olympic quota place, were exempted from the event. In the absence of duo Abhay Singh Shekhon from Punjab walked away with senior and junior titles. Overnight leader and favourite to win the senior selection trials Gurjoat Singh couldn’t maintain his form in the finals and finished outside the medal bracket. Shekhon shot 56 out of possible 60 to stay atop the field while Arjun Thakur from Madhya Pradesh was second at 52.

Punjab’s Ganemat Sekhon was winner of women’s skeet title. She shot 120 in qualification and 55 in final.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is organising trials to select shooter for the upcoming World Cups in New Delhi and South Korea.

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