Brilliant Manavjit shoots gold

Brilliant Manavjit shoots gold

India’s Manavjit Singh Sandhu produced some excellent shooting to clinch the men’s trap gold medal ahead of two-time Olympic champion Michael Diamond at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Tucson, US.

The 37-year-old former world champion shot a score of 121 in the qualification round to make it to the final and shot 13 in contrast to Diamond’s 9 to nail the gold.

It was some achievement by the former world number one Indian and world champion as he was up against Australia’s Diamond, who had won the top prize in the 1996 Atlanta and Sydney Olympics in 2000, besides winning five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Diamond shot 119 in the qualification round.

Manavjit, who was suffering from high fever on the eve of the competition, scored 14 out of 15 targets in the semifinals. The Indian sharpshooter had last won the World Cup stage four years ago.

The bronze medal went to Alexey Alipov of Russia who shot 121 and 12.

“We had some of the world’s best shooters competing today (Friday). Winning the match against Michael Diamond had been definitely challenging but at the end you have to hit your own target, and the final score is what it is,” Manavjit said after his win.

“I have prepared for this first World Cup throughout the winter season. We had several championships and trials in India in the last months. I never stopped shooting,” the shooter, currently ranked 16th in the world, added.

One of the finest shotgun shooters in the country, Manavjit had last month clinched the Patiala Cup for the overall gross score in trap, double trap and skeet, at the Indian Shotgun Open here.

In the 2012 London Olympics, Manavjit finished 16th in the qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks and failed to enter the final.

Busy calendar

But this win will warm him up nicely for the busy international calendar ahead, with the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Asian Games all lined up from July to September.

“This year is a very important season for us and the pressure is high. We’re competing in the Commonwealth Games, then in the World Championships in September and straight after `that we are going to participate in the Asian Games,” Manavjit told ISSF website.

As many as 64 quota places for 2016 Rio Olympics will be up for grabs at the World Championships, scheduled in Grenada, Spain.

In the women’s trap event on Thursday, India’s Shreyasi Singh had finished a creditable sixth.

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