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Darjeeling star, Sushil Ghalay wins gold in National Shooting Championship
Army's Sushsil Ghalay has won a gold medal in the 50m Rifle Prone Competition in the men's category in the ongoing 56th National Shooting Championship. This was his second consecutive win and overall third win in the shooting championship.

THE 32-year-old Darjeeling shooter was sure of win even before he took his first shot. This is Sushil’s third gold medal as he won the title in 2009 and 2011 as well. He won the gold medal after putting up a total score (combining both the qualifier score and finals score) of 695.4 points; Rakesh Mapat finished second with 694.2 and Sanjeev Rajput finished with 692.

Unlike many professionals, Ghalay did not practice everyday, but only practiced for four days for five hours before the event. But, during practice hours, he was completely dedicated towards it. “The way I was practicing, I knew, I would win the gold medal. I knew I would even come up with good score, but my score was down here (competition) as compared to my practice scores,” he said.

After taking the top position in the qualifier rounds there was no looking back for Ghalay. He was at his impressive best in the finals. Other players in the finals came up with good rounds as well. Sanjeev Rajput scored 104.0 in the finals, but it was still not enough to defeat the defending champion, who came up with 102.4 in the finals. Throughout the finals, he was in full control of his game, which came from his experience of winning three National Championships and other competitions apart from representing India in various World Cups, winning a Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Championship in Melbourne, 2005 and a gold medal in the SAARC Championships in Pakistan too.

Many players after attaining an age of 32 might as well think of giving up the sport, which requires a lot of travelling around the country and the world as well, but Ghalay looks hungry for more titles. He, in spite of winning the National Championships thrice has set a target for himself. He said, “I want to win a hat-trick of National Championship titles. I missed the gold in the 2010 National Championships and won it in 2011 and this time (2012) as well. So, I will try to win the 2013 title and complete the hat-trick of titles.”

After having come so close to qualifying for London Olympics, he has still not given up the thought of becoming an Olympian. He is no different from other shooters, who also want to represent India in Olympics. “I just have one objective for the future – to represent India in the Olympics and bring home an Olympic medal.” For this to happen, he may as well have to dedicate more hours to shooting with sincere dedication.

He is pleased with the ever-increasing standards of Indian shooting, but also understands the problems of civilian (non-army) shooters, who face problems with ammunitions, guns etc, as it is not available in India. Being an army man; helps a lot, Ghalay believes. “I am from the defense, so there are no problems as all the facilities are provided by the army,” he said. If Indian shooters are properly groomed by the government and are given good facilities, then we may as well find many shooters from all around the country placing India’s name in the global map as Ghalay has been doing all around the world.

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