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National Shooting Championship: Rathore wins gold in double trap
The 56th National Shooting Championship witnessed top Indian double trap shooters vying for the title, but it was Rajyavardhan Rathore, the current joint world record holder in double trap, who walked away with gold medal.

RAJYAVARDHAN RATHORE shot a total of 190 - scoring 144 in the qualifiers and 46 in the finals of the championship, held at Karnail Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi. Mohammad Asab (141+46) and Ronjan Sodhi (138 + 48) won the silver and bronze respectively.

When the initial rounds of the finals took place, almost all shooters were bang on their target except Rathore, even though he enjoyed a 3-point lead over Asab courtesy his qualifying round score. It was a double whammy for Rathore – although for a limited time – when he missed the target and his close rival Asab hit the target bang on.

When asked by this citizen journalist whether it was pressure to shoot to the best of your capabilities, Rathore replied: “Pressure actually makes us work better. Although no one likes it, that is the truth. I missed because I had a three point lead, so I was kind of relaxed. So when you are relaxed, you are not concentrating enough, so that was a good wake up call to me.” After some time only, we saw the best of Rathore – as he rarely missed targets later on and walked away with the gold.

Asab, who was once very close to the gold medal, was happy with his performance but conceded that he felt some pressure during the final. “I am happy with my performance. For the first time in the senior nationals, I won a silver medal, so it is a good achievement,” Asab said.

Shayan Masood, 17, who finished fourth in the competition, was sad that he missed the bronze medal. He said, “I am happy with the finals. This is my fourth final in the last five years in the nationals. I am very happy. I shot 47, which is second highest in the finals. Lot more years to go, I am going to prepare much harder next time.” With age on his side, we might as well see Masood come out all guns blazing not only in nationals in the future but also in various competitions across the world.

Former world record holder, Ronjan Sodhi did not have good qualifying rounds, which resulted in a bronze medal even after being the best shooter in the finals missing only 2 shots. When asked about his performance, he said, “I have mixed reactions. Not too satisfied, but happy with my final round.” He felt that he should have hit 142 overall, as he added, “I shot 138, which is a low score according to my standards. I should have at least been 140 plus. If there were one or two targets up and down, then you can catch up in the finals but a six target lead is way too much (from the top position).”

The quality on display during the finals was top notch, which just augers well for Indian shooting. With a number of youngsters taking up this sport, there is a good chance that India would win Olympics medal in this sport. “I truly believe that there is tremendous potential for Indians in the sport of shooting,” said Rathore.

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