Today News Online Service
New Delhi, March 21
Ganemat Sekhon could barely stitch together a sentence to explain what she had accomplished at the Karni Singh Shooting Range. Chandigarh girl Ganemat became India’s first woman skeet shooter to win an ISSF World Cup medal after she finished third in the 60-shot final. Ganemat hit 40 targets to win the bronze medal.
In fact, Sunday was a day on which she recorded several firsts in her young career. Not only was this her first ever final in the senior category, the 20-year-old also registered her best qualifying score of 117 in an international competition.
The podium looked a long way off at the start of the final as Ganemat started nervously, missing a few targets in her first 10 shots. However, she fought nerves and came back into contention by the time the first elimination round kicked in.
Gold was won by Great Britain’s Amber Hill, who edged out Kazakhstan’s Zoya Kravchenko 4-3 in the shoot-off after both tied with 51 hits in regulation.
The biggest cheer from the crowd was accorded to Ganemat for breaking through the medal barrier. “I am overwhelmed. I was working towards reaching the finals and to win something was my aim and I am very happy about it,” Ganemat said.
She confessed that she was a bit nervous before the final. “I was very nervous and I think that’s why I lost a few targets in the beginning. I was excited, nervous, jittery… Everything! However, after a few shots I told myself, ‘I have to do this as I have reached the finals’. And I shot my best score internationally,” said Ganemat.
The home range advantage and having people who have helped her reach the Indian team, including her father Amrinder Singh Sekhon, supporting her here helped ease her nerves. “This (home range) was the biggest positive for me as we have shot here so much. Our nationals are held here, we shoot trials here a lot too,” said Ganemat, who started shooting skeet after watching her cousin Indreshwar Sekhon breaking clay targets in 2016.
Karttiki Singh Shaktawat, who led the final field after the first 10 shots, finished fourth with 32 hits.
In the men’s category, Gurjoat Singh Khangura finished sixth. Shooting in his maiden final, Khangura shot 14 targets to be eliminated first. Denmark’s Jesper Hansen won gold with 58 hits, followed by UAE’s Saif Bin Futais (51) and Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiya (44).
Tokyo Olympics quota-holder Mairaj Ahmad Khan missed out on the final after losing out in a four-man shoot-off for the two remaining final places. Hansen, Gurjoat, Mairaj and Cypriot Dimitris Konstatinou finished at 121 in qualification. Dimitris and Mairaj were eliminated after shooting three and seven targets, respectively, while Hansen and Khangura advanced with 10 and nine hits, respectively.
Meanwhile, India’s men’s and women’s teams bagged the team golds in the air pistol discipline. The men’s team of Saurabh Chaudhary, Shahzar Rizvi and Abhishek Verma won gold with 17 points, six ahead of Vietnam.
The women’s team of Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Manu Bhaker and P Shri Nivetha blanked the team from Poland 16-8 to win gold.
The men’s air rifle team capped a big day for the Indians by winning the team silver. The Indian trio of Deepak Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar lost 14-16 to the US in the fight for gold.