From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.32 :: NO.02 :: Jan. 10, 2009

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SHOOTING / NATIONAL SHOTGUN CHAMPIONSHIP

The future is bright

The National Shotgun Championship in Jaipur recently helped showcase the potential of young Indian shooters. Y. B. Sarangi reports.



Double delight… Darius Chenai, the winner of the men’s trap event, with his son Kynan, who won the junior trap title.

A 17-year-old shooter defends his junior title in style. And hours later, his 46-year-old father, known for backing the promising son, springs a sweet surprise by winning his maiden crown at the National Shotgun Championship.

In the most memorable moment of the championship, the Chenai family from Hyderabad was the toast of the fans at the Oases range in Jaipur as the father-son duo achieved a double delight in the trap event.

Darius Chenai, who took to the sport with intense focus only seven years ago, was the dark horse of the championship. He claimed the National title by shooting an impressive 23 in the final round for a total of 141.

After beating stalwarts such as Mansher Singh (140) and Anwer Sultan (140), Darius was humility personified. “It was just one of those days,” he said. Darius, in fact, did not realise his feat until son Kynan jumped from the stands to congratulate him.

“Indeed it’s a double delight,” said Darius with a broad smile as he was greeted by the big shots of the sport such as Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and double world record holder Ronjan Sodhi.

“It’s a major achievement for me. I owe it to Raninder Singh who provided his range in Patiala for practice. I and my son shot there under Italian coach Marcello Dradi,” acknowledged Darius.

Kynan, a gold medallist at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, was quite thrilled over his father’s achievement. “Dad’s performance has made me so happy. He was amazing,” Kynan said.



Param Pal Singh, the men’s skeet champion.

Param Pal Singh also claimed his first National title in men’s skeet by overcoming the challenge from defending champion Mairaj Khan (136) and A. D. Peoples (133). The former Armyman came up with a sensational final round score of 24 points to win the gold medal with a total of 141 points.

“I prepared well for the event and I am happy to have equalled my best score,” said Param Pal of his victory.

Youngster Mohammad Sheeraj Sheikh received loads of accolades despite settling for the bronze medal with a total of 138 points. Earlier, he won the gold in the junior skeet event.

The biggest upset of the championship was caused by Vikram Bhatnagar (191) who got the better of Ronjan Sodhi (186) for the men’s double trap title.

“Everything should go correctly for you on a given day, and that happened for me. I would have been more pleased if I had beaten Rathore,” said an elated Bhatnagar, who had lost the National gold to Rathore last year.

Army’s Himanshu (186) is another emerging talent who holds a lot of promise. He won the silver medal after pipping Sodhi in the tie-breaker.



Vikram Bhatnagar celebrates after winning the men’s double trap event. To his right is Ajay Mittal who won the junior title.

The National Championship was successful as far as showcasing the potential of young Indian shooters.

“The future of Indian shooting is very bright. People like Kynan Chenai, Asher Noria, Ajay Mittal, Sheeraj Sheikh, G. Sharan Susheel and many others are shaping up very nicely. It’s good that our bench strength is so strong,” said Sodhi.

Rathore concurred. “Now the youngsters are pushing us hard and after a few years they will be pushed hard by others. It’s a good sign. That will make us work harder,” he remarked.

The other talking point at the National Championship was the possible rule changes in the double trap event, aimed at cost cutting. With the international body set to take a decision on this soon, some are of the view that it would help the club-level shooters to practise with less ammunition.

Others, however, feel that it would affect the young shooters who are getting into the groove after a lot of hard work.




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