Pankaj Mukheja won a battle of railwaymen to clinch the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) T3 trials at the M.P. State Shooting Academy Range here in the city. Also emerging triumphant at India’s newest Shooting destination on day three of the Group A national selection trials, was Haryana’s Nancy who claimed the women’s 10m air rifle T3 trials and her state-mate Rhythm Sangwan, who won the women’s 25m pistol T4 trials.
Pankaj overcame Paris 2024 Olympics quota winner Swapnil Kusale 16-12 in a tight contest. This was after local hope and India number one in the event, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, had logged a field-topping 591 in qualifications. Aishwary fell just short of making it to the gold medal clash, shooting 407.4 in the ranking round to finish behind Swapnil who shot 408. Pankaj with 413.7 was way clear at the top.
In the women’s air rifle, Nancy got the better of West Bengal’s Mehuli Ghosh 16-10. Mehuli will be happy with her qualification round score of 633.8 which was the leading score in the 42-strong field. Shreya Agrawal was third for hosts Madhya Pradesh (M.P), after finishing the ranking round with 261.6.
Haryana’s Rhythm Sangwan continued her brilliant form clinching the women’s 25m pistol with 32-hits in the medal match. Uttar Pradesh’s Neha was second with 31-hits while Telangana’s Esha Singh was third with 21-hits to her name.
Among the juniors, Gautami Bhanot of M.P also continued her good form which saw her win in Korea last year as well as the Khelo India Youth Games gold at the same venue, clinching the women’s 10m air rifle T3 trials in the category. Delhi’s Naamya Kapoor won the junior women’s 25m pistol while her compatriot Shivam Dabas won the junior men’s 50m rifle 3 positions competition.